Published on June 14, 2013

Open government and climate change: Help us identify case studies

By Houda Davis

Houda Davis is a Research Assistant at Involve interested in participation in health, the environment and science and technology.

4424720922_cb22af1564We are currently developing a thought piece exploring how local authorities are engaging with citizens on climate change issues, energy futures and sustainable living. We will look at this through the lens of Open Government: exploring what the evidence says about when and how engaging citizens in a more open, deliberative and on-going way can contribute to improved outcomes.


Why citizen engagement with climate change issues?

The government will have to make difficult decisions to achieve the legally binding target of a reduction of greenhouse gas by 80% by 2050. Complex trade-offs will need to be made on issues such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, fracking, renewable energy generation and flood risk management.

We argue that these complex issues require government and citizens to work together. Citizens should be engaged, and able to influence these decisions. In particular the local level seems key for advancing sustainability and provides opportunities for engagement, collaboration, partnership and innovation.

Building evidence

We are developing a thought piece exploring the extent to which local authorities are engaging with citizens on climate change issues, energy futures and sustainable living.

We will look at these issues through the lens of Open Government, aiming to collect and analyse emerging evidence that ‘opening up’ has led to improved outcomes. Which opportunities does it present? What are the risks?

Government has shown increasing commitment the open agenda, representing an aspiration that policy could be better made and providing an opportunity to transform the way citizens are engaged in decision making processes. There is no single formula for Open Government, however we highlight transparency, participation and accountability as three key dimensions around which openness can be measured.

With this study we aim to build evidence, showcase innovative examples, and develop a set of core ideas about how local government could rethink citizen engagement with climate change issues, in the context of Open Government.

We are keen on exploring where opening up local governance has been supporting, or holding back, citizen engagement with climate change issues.

Call for case studies

We would welcome your suggestions for case studies in which local authorities are using Open Government principles to engage citizens in new and innovative ways, which has demonstrably led to improved outcomes, or has indications of creating better outcomes.

In particular we are looking for examples of:

  • New and innovative approaches to citizen engagement, in particular examples that are deliberative, on-going, and have an impact on decision making processes

Also, we would like to explore how other elements of opening up government, such as transparency, Open Data and accountability, are influencing or changing how local government is engaging citizens on climate change issues. For example,

  • Examples of how decision making processes are made visible and accessible to the public, and to what extent Open Data is available, and how does that relate to citizen engagement on climate change issues
  • Examples of processes that are in place to allow for public scrutiny and accountability mechanisms.

Any examples of local authorities working on these issues, as well as any general thoughts about the project, would be most welcome. Involve is also interested in seeking collaborative partners on this topic.

Please contact or +44 207 7336 9443



Picture: vishnuprasad Radhakrishnan



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