Contemporary policy-makers are often confronted with decisions concerning projects and problems of enormous scope and complexity. Many of these projects and problems are intricately connected with science and technology. Examples include policies to fund and regulate research-based megaprojects such as nanotechnology; and policies to cope with global threats such as climate change. In the case of climate change, diverse observers agree that every person on earth will be affected; and that the fundamentals of social organization, and what it means to be human, are implicated. However, policies addressing these concerns remain mixed at best. For example, the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) held from December 1-12, 2008 at Poznam, Poland, remained no different from all the COPS held so far in that it made not progress on how to address the global concern of climate change. While there is a growing consensus about global climate change and the impact it will have on society, there is enormous difference about how to respond to the challenge of climate change in the coming decades. It is also apparent that policy discussions about these issues are predominantly influenced by insular organized interests. With very few exceptions, everyday citizens are spectators at best, and often clueless that an issue even exists. In light of this imbalance, we propose experimental research on participation in climate change policy. The experiment, World Wide Views on Global Warming (www.wwviews.org), is a day of deliberation by residents in some 30 countries on climate change issues (September 26, 2009), which will culminate in the compilation of their views on and prescriptions for policy. The outcomes of the deliberation will then be shared with delegates to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen (COP 15) scheduled for November - December 2009, as well as with other interested parties and the general public. The research proposed here will be conducted by the United States WWViews affiliates in collaboration with partners in several other nations [to be determined] based on the experimental data generated during and after the deliberation of the research. The goal of our research is to assess these deliberations and their policy significance. Both the theory of deliberative democracy and the existing research literature reviewed in the previous section point toward three items as especially important indicators of successful deliberations and policy outcomes. First, fair deliberation will be indicated by a process that recruits a demographically balanced, representative set of participants with a general but not a pecuniary interest in climate change policy; provides balanced, informative and accessible briefing materials; promotes effective interaction with subject matter experts; and supports active engagement by all participants. Success in reducing the effects of social disparities arising from differences in class, ethnicity, religion, etc., is an especially important indicator of fairness. Second, a deliberation that generates intersubjective rationality (shared understandings and prescriptions not evident at the beginning of the discussion) among the participants can increase the possibility of adding more diverse yet reasoned voices to the range of policy discourse.
|Effective start/end date||10/15/09 → 8/31/11|
- NSF-SBE: Division of Social & Economic Sciences (SES): $49,444.00