Thursday, November 05, 2020

Power to the people (on climate change policy)

Cathleen O'Grady points to a good model for the United States - countries using citizens' assemblies to address longer term problems that politicians - focused mainly on their next election - fail to address. Motivated readers can obtain the full text by emailing me.
A growing number of countries are turning to citizens' assemblies—randomly selected groups of ordinary citizens—to offer suggestions on thorny policy matters, including climate change. The U.K. Climate Assembly produced its final policy recommendations last month, following a French assembly that recommended including climate goals in the French constitution, and an Irish assembly that led to a government plan to quadruple its carbon tax. Advocates of the method say random selection can cut through the polarization that emerges when politics listens only to the loudest voices, and that citizens can engage in longer term thinking than elected politicians, producing more ambitious proposals and bolstering political will. Scotland, Denmark, and Spain have announced their own climate assemblies, joining the worldwide surge of experiments in deliberative democracy.

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