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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 16;111 Suppl 4:13606-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317512111. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Creating a national citizen engagement process for energy policy.

Author information

1
Understanding Risk Research Group, Tyndall Centre and Climate Change Consortium of Wales, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales CF10 3AT, United Kingdom; PidgeonN@Cardiff.ac.uk.
2
Understanding Risk Research Group, Tyndall Centre and Climate Change Consortium of Wales, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales CF10 3AT, United Kingdom;
3
Geography Department, The University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4RJ, United Kingdom;
4
School of Environment, Natural Resources, and Geography, Bangor University, Wales LL57 2UW, United Kingdom; and.
5
Horizon Digital Economy Research and School of Psychology, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2TU, United Kingdom.

Abstract

This paper examines some of the science communication challenges involved when designing and conducting public deliberation processes on issues of national importance. We take as our illustrative case study a recent research project investigating public values and attitudes toward future energy system change for the United Kingdom. National-level issues such as this are often particularly difficult to engage the public with because of their inherent complexity, derived from multiple interconnected elements and policy frames, extended scales of analysis, and different manifestations of uncertainty. With reference to the energy system project, we discuss ways of meeting a series of science communication challenges arising when engaging the public with national topics, including the need to articulate systems thinking and problem scale, to provide balanced information and policy framings in ways that open up spaces for reflection and deliberation, and the need for varied methods of facilitation and data synthesis that permit access to participants' broader values. Although resource intensive, national-level deliberation is possible and can produce useful insights both for participants and for science policy.

KEYWORDS:

energy system transitions; national dialogue; public engagement

PMID:
25225393
PMCID:
PMC4183173
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1317512111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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