Citizen Deliberation

Climate targets on their own do not guarantee success. To achieve them, concrete measures and a joint learning process between science, politics, business and society are needed. Citizens have therefore been involved in the research on the energy transition from the very beginning of the Ariadne project through a variety of dialogue and deliberation formats.1Deliberation means “consultation” or “consideration”. A deliberation process involves people coming together under fair conditions, exchanging views and arguments, weighing them up and learning from each other. Joint decisions should not be based on majority voting, but on convincing arguments that are discussed together in a process of understanding.

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The dialogue between society and science was initiated by online discussions where participants discussed the problems and goals of the energy transition, and what is important to citizens in its implementation. The results were incorporated into Ariadne research and further deepened in co-creation workshops between science and citizens to identify focus areas for further research. In the next step, Ariadne researchers developed policy action packages which were discussed and evaluated at the citizens’ conferences in November 2022.

The results of these conferences were incorporated into Ariadne’s further research work. Participants’ assessments of the policy instruments discussed were integrated into the further development of policy options to maximise societal viability. The policy pathways were presented at the citizens’ summit on 24 March, 2023. They form the basis of orientation for policymakers, combining their expertise on the impact of the instruments with citizens’ values and perspectives.

Dialogue formats

Regional focus groups

Co-creation workshops

Citizens’ conferences

Online deliberation

Citizens’ summit

Results and further information

Resources mentioned as follows are only available in German.

Key messages from the Ariadne citizens’ deliberation process

The results from the deliberation, and the resulting core messages, have been summarised on posters for the Ariadne citizens’ summit.

In addition, the values discusses in the regional focus groups during the autumn of 2020, together with the results of the accompanying research, were presented in an exhibition at the citizens’ summit.

Ariadne Citizens’ Summit: How Climate Policy Can Benefit from the Learning Process of Civil Society and Science

Since Ariadne was launched almost three years ago, people from all over Germany have been involved in the research process on the energy transition. The focus of the dialog formats between Ariadne researchers and randomly selected people has been the electricity and transport transformation, for which scientifically developed options have been discussed. The results of the joint learning process will be presented at the Citizens’ Summit on March 23 in Berlin.

Feasibility of the electricity transition – regional potential of renewable energies and social acceptance

Ariadne researchers have brought together the different perspectives of society and science on the expansion of renewable energies in Germany. Their conclusion: there are numerous options available to meet the demand for expansion areas while at the same time taking into account socially prioritized locations for wind turbines and solar parks.

Quo vadis climate policy? Citizens’ Perspectives on Policy Options in Energy and Transport

The results of the accompanying research on the Ariadne Citizen Deliberation show, among other things: The majority of people are willing to support changes on the way to climate neutrality. In this context, access to sustainable alternatives and affordable mobility as well as co-determination and local value creation in energy supply are of great importance to them.

Policy Brief: How civil society is involved in the Ariadne learning process

In order to develop socially sustainable target paths towards climate neutrality, it is important to include the perspectives of citizens into the scientific policy advice. The Kopernikus project Ariadne therefore designs a learning process for society as a whole, in which randomly selected citizens are involved from the beginning to contribute their views, values and experiential knowledge to the research process.

Exploration module “Energy Transition”

The app for the citizen conference on energy transition. Note: Tablet-optimized application – not usable on mobile devices.

Exploration module “Mobility Transition”

The app for the citizen conference on mobility transition. Note: Tablet-optimized application – not usable on mobile devices.

Report: Citizens’ views on future energy worlds

Report: Citizens’ views on future mobility paths

Climate Change is becoming ever more important – despite the energy crisis

The transformation to climate neutrality is more important than ever to the people of Germany, especially against the backdrop of high energy prices. This is shown by the annual representative survey of more than 6,500 people nationwide on topics related to the energy and transport transition, carried out as part of the Ariadne project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Participation is more – Carrying the energy transition socially: Guest article in the Tagesspiegel Background

Ariadne researchers Arwen Colell and Brigitte Knopf explain in a standpoint what is needed for true social ownership in the process on the path to climate neutrality in 2045 and how deliberation can be shaped.

Learning module: Energy transition

Information on climate-friendly electricity supply for work within focus groups.

Learning module: Mobility transition

Information on climate-smart mobility for work within focus groups.

Report: What is important to us in the mobility and energy transitions?

From public transportation to grid expansion, from electricity costs to jobs: Across Germany, people have discussed the expansion of renewable energies and the mobility of the future. What moves them and how Ariadne continues to work with these perspectives is shown in the new report.

Social Sustainability Barometer of the Energy and Transport Transition 2021

More than 6,800 people across Germany were surveyed: Almost 80 percent see the transformation as a collective task to which everyone should make a contribution to succeed. However, more than half describe the implementation of the energy transition as expensive or distant from citizens and would like to see more momentum. The first results of the Social Sustainability Barometer 2021 are now online and available to download.

Questions and Answers

What is “deliberation”?

What does citizen participation mean in the Ariadne project?

Can I register for the events, such as the citizen conference?

What is special about the Ariadne project?

My question is not listed here, who can I contact?

What else is there?

  • Ariadne’s thematic focus: Ariadne explores energy transition strategies across a range of sectors, for example, in addition to electricity and transport transition, heat transition or industrial transition. Read more
  • Copernicus projects: Ariadne is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a total of 30 million euros over three years and is part of the Copernicus research initiative. As the fourth Copernicus pillar, Ariadne complements the ENSURE , P2X and SynErgie projects. Together, the Kopernikus projects form one of the largest German research initiatives on the subject of energy transition. Read more
  • CO2-price calculator (redirection to external website): How to proceed with CO2 pricing and also with offsetting is hotly debated. An interactive “CO2-price calculator”, created by Ariadne project partner MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change), now provides orientation. Read more
  • Follow the Ariadne thread on X @AriadneProjekt and LinkedIn.