Ariadne Citizens' Summit brings together science and civil society

Stakeholders from economics and politics discuss results of joint work on climate policy with researchers and citizens

Young people in a discussion group: the exchange of different opinions is also fruitful for climate policy. | Photo: Shutterstock/Sunshine Seeds


The transformation to a climate-neutral Germany will only succeed if decisions are based on science and supported by society. That's why since the start of the Kopernikus project Ariadne funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research almost three years ago, people from all over Germany have been involved in the research process on the energy transition. These “Citizens' Dialogues” are now leading to a “Citizens' Summit” on 24 March in Berlin. The Berlin-based climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) as one of the project partners is responsible for essential tasks in the conception and the accompanying research in this innovative field of activity of Ariadne.

Since fall 2020, randomly selected citizens have been involved in Ariadne's energy transition research process. Through online workshops, citizens' conferences, or with the support of learning or exploration modules, more than 170 people from all over Germany have been taught about the current state of research in the electricity and transport sectors from six Ariadne partner institutes. Through discussions, their values, attitudes and experiential knowledge have flowed into further scientific work.

Before and after their involvement, participants were asked about various possible solutions to the challenges of expanding renewable energies and transforming mobility. “We were able to observe how, through deliberative exchange and via scientific information, participants developed a better understanding of policy options and other perspectives,” reports Katja Treichel-Grass, Policy Analyst in the Policy Unit of MCC. The learning process was also helpful for the researchers in re-evaluating policy options regarding social acceptance.

The willingness of citizens to face the challenges of the energy transition grew during their involvement. Participants worked with Ariadne researchers to develop scenarios and core messages for the electricity and transport transition as a guide to socially viable climate policy. In the expansion of renewable energies, for example, it was revealed that participation in the process and creating local value are important to people. And in the transport transition, social justice plays a particularly important role, especially with regard to the reimbursement of carbon price revenues and with regard to taking the needs of different population groups into account.

At the Ariadne Citizens' Summit on 24 March, these citizen scenarios and core messages will be presented for the first time and discussed by citizens together with stakeholders from business, politics and science.


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