The Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy

Climate Change and Public Policy

There is strong scientific consensus on the issue of climate change, both the fact that it is happening and the post-industrial causes for its happening in a particular way at a particular time. There are, to be sure, differences in opinions about the degree to which climate change is happening and the urgency with which we should address the fact of climate change. There are also principled policy differences over how we as a nation ought to address this and what roles the government and private sector should play in addressing this issue.

Discussions of climate change thus involve both scientific analysis and policy analysis. In a democracy, these discussions must involve the people, not only as voters, but as educated citizens.

However, the kind of public discourse we need has grown more divisive, fed by the rhetoric of political television, year-round campaign ads and vitriolic blogs and websites.

Hence, the task of discussing climate change and public policy is daunting, not only in regard to the challenges of translating technical information into a public language accessible to our citizenry but also in regard to kinds of forums in which such a discussion can take place.

In 2012 the Program for Deliberative Democracy will attempt to address these challenges through the development of project guidelines for the use of Deliberative Poll® at the regional level and a series of Deliberative Loops® at the college level.

Regional Policy

Many discussions of climate change and public policy are occuring at the local and regional level. We have developed resource materials and guidelines for use by those interested in pursuing these issues through informed, well structured citizen deliberation.

This event is being scheduled for the Fall of 2013..

Campus Policy

Over 20 campuses across the county will have conversations relating to issues and policies directly relevant the host institutions. These deliberations will be held in conjunction with a Pittsburgh Regional Campus Conversation on September 29th, 2012. Preparations for these Campus Conversations are underway.

Partners and Sponsors

Carnegie Mellon's Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research

The Climate and Energy Decision-Making center, and

Judith A. Wright, Carnegie Mellon, CIT Class of 1969


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