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What is impor­tant to us when it comes to trans­port and electricity?

From the pub­lic trans­port to the expan­sion of the grid, from elec­tric­i­ty costs to jobs: across the Fed­er­al Repub­lic, peo­ple have dis­cussed the expan­sion of renew­able ener­gies and the mobil­i­ty of the future. The new report shows what moves her and how Ari­adne con­tin­ues to work with these perspectives.

Cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pa­tion starts with focus groups and reach­es to the big cit­i­zens’ summit

The ener­gy tran­si­tion affects all peo­ple in every­day life. This is a chal­lenge for politi­cians, because in every deci­sion there are also sub­lim­i­nal val­ues and pri­or­i­ties on the issues. The results sum­ma­rized in the new Ari­adne report show in the extent to which these par­tic­i­pants were dis­cussed at the time of the elec­tric­i­ty and traf­fic tran­si­tion, as well as the prob­lems and needs they have on the top­ics of the ener­gy transition.

“Peo­ple, for exam­ple, have been con­cerned with the ques­tion of who should feel respon­si­ble for achiev­ing the cli­mate tar­get set and how bur­dens can be dis­trib­uted social­ly fair­ly,” explains Arwen Colell, co-author of the report and pol­i­cy ana­lyst at the Mer­ca­tor Research Insti­tute on Glob­al Com­mons and Cli­mate Change (MCC Berlin), which is part of the Ari­adne con­sor­tium. “The dis­cus­sions for­mu­lat­ed very dif­fer­ent goals, which con­cern the role of the state, but also the ten­sion between indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­i­ty and per­son­al free­dom.” Par­tic­i­pants were expect­ed to have a greater say in the selec­tion of new tech­nolo­gies and bur­den-shar­ing, for exam­ple in the turn­around of elec­tric­i­ty. On the oth­er hand, when it comes to mobil­i­ty, in their view, it seems that pol­i­tics is more respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing infra­struc­tures, for exam­ple, to make the switch from cars to pub­lic trans­port more attractive.

Cit­i­zens make rec­om­men­da­tions? Ari­adne takes an inclu­sive approach

Unlike, for exam­ple, the Cit­i­zens’ Coun­cil on Ger­many’s role in the world or the French Cli­mate Cit­i­zens’ Coun­cil, the views of cit­i­zens and sci­en­tif­ic research on the ener­gy tran­si­tion are grad­u­al­ly brought togeth­er in the Coper­ni­cus project Ari­adne. The Ari­adne experts thus have a com­plete­ly new approach in mind: con­tin­u­ous­ly, insights into the val­ues and objec­tives of cit­i­zens are to be inte­grat­ed and analysed in research and mod­el­ling of sce­nar­ios, in order to give the pol­i­cy deci­sion-mak­ing lev­el a 360-degree view of the effects of options and instruments.

It is impor­tant for the researchers to note that more than one solu­tion can be effec­tive and that areas of ten­sion remain open. “Ari­adne does not want to per­suade any­one or con­vince any­one of a par­tic­u­lar option, but rather to incor­po­rate all per­spec­tives of soci­ety into the devel­op­ment of fea­si­ble future paths,” explains Mar­tin Kowarsch, group leader at the MCC Berlin and also author of the report as ari­adne expert for cit­i­zen delib­er­a­tion. “If our research project suc­ceeds in tak­ing peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds seri­ous­ly, delib­er­a­tion process­es can ulti­mate­ly con­tribute to a fac­tu­al, pub­lic-inter­est-ori­ent­ed debate,” says Kowarsch.

Val­ue maps help guide the paths of action

The results of the focus group work, which took place in video­con­fer­ences because of the Coro­na pan­dem­ic and were orga­nized and eval­u­at­ed togeth­er with col­leagues of the strat­e­gy con­sul­tan­cy ifok, pro­vide impor­tant and ground­break­ing clues for the fur­ther sci­en­tif­ic dis­cus­sion. In var­i­ous maps, peo­ple’s state­ments are sort­ed accord­ing to val­ues, argu­ments and con­texts in order to facil­i­tate the devel­op­ment of pos­si­ble cli­mate pro­tec­tion instru­ments in the future on the basis of the result­ing map­ping of action paths.

The Ari­adne report is only the begin­ning of the delib­er­a­tion process, which will run through the entire project peri­od. In addi­tion to work­shops and civic con­fer­ences, Ari­adne is work­ing as a high­light for a major cit­i­zens’ sum­mit, at which, in about two years’ time, the find­ings of the project will be dis­cussed by cit­i­zens in dia­logue with pol­i­tics, busi­ness and science.

Down­load the report