Virtual Citizen Discussion on Climate Change Policies in the North

Centre for Democratic Engagement members Viktoria Spaiser and Nicole Nisbett have launched an online citizen discussion on climate change, from the 30 September to the 30 November.

This is being developed in collaboration with various researchers across the University of Leeds, coordinated by Energy Leeds and with support from partners from the Leeds, Bradford and Hull councils, a virtual platform to explore innovative ways of allowing citizens to participate in local climate change policies decision making.

Differently from most recent consultation exercises, this platform does not present citizens with a set of pre-defined statements or projects in order to assess citizen support top-down, rather, on this newly launched platform, citizens are invited to develop collaboratively their own ideas from scratch. To structure the deliberation, the platform provides a set of subject areas, such as Public Transport or Housing Decarbonisation, but also Miscellaneous, where citizens can post any ideas that do not fit in any of the set subject areas. Citizens have also access to expert advice on the platform if they are unsure about technical details, feasibilities etc.

Screen shot of the The Online Platform for the Yorkshire Citizen Climate Change Discussion

The Online Platform for the Yorkshire Citizen Climate Change Discussion

The process of developing ideas and making decisions involved various stages. In the first stage a citizen can post a proposal along with a rationale. Other citizens can then indicate their support for the proposal and they can write suggestions to improve the proposal as the initiator of the proposal is expected to respond to suggestions to maintain and expand support for their proposal. Citizens can also rate the suggestions of others to indicate how important they find them. Citizens can also create competing initiative to the one proposed if they think they have a better proposal on the same topic. After the deliberation phase, those initiatives that have gained sufficient support are up for preferential voting in order to establish the most supported proposal. This process is implemented within the software LiquidFeedback (https://liquidfeedback.com/en/), which is used for this virtual citizen discussion.

Any citizen from Leeds, Bradford or Hull can join the platform and contribute to this exciting trial, join here: www.yorkshire-climate.org ; The platform will be active for two months until 30th of November. Afterwards the data collected from this trial will be carefully analysed to produce a report for the involved councils.