L.A. Citizens Weigh In on Global Climate Policy
On September 26th, Pomona College, in Claremont, CA, will be one of only five U.S. sites and 38 international sites hosting meetings for World Wide Views on Global Warming, during which regular citizens from around the world will meet to discuss what they think governments should do in four critical areas of climate change policy negotiations and what changes they are willing to make in their lives.
Their recommendations will then be correlated, analyzed and presented to world leaders prior to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Copenhagen this December (COP 15). The goal at COP 15 is to finalize a successor agreement to the expiring Kyoto Protocol that regulates greenhouse gas emissions.
The goal of WWViews is to involve ordinary people from around the world in a discussion about climate change policy that would otherwise occur only among stakeholders at the international level, and to communicate their opinions to decision makers. There is considerable evidence from polling that citizens world wide see climate change as a serious issue, think governments should do more about it, and that they are prepared to make changes in their own lives to meet the challenge. WWViews provides an opportunity for a broad array of residents in each of the participating countries to inform themselves about the issues, discuss them with their peers, vote on policy options, and develop recommendations for their elected officials.
Participants will reflect their regions’ demographic diversity as closely as possible in sex, education, race/ethnicity, income, occupation and age. At the Pomona College site, the participants will come from all five counties in the greater Los Angeles region. Half are women and half are men. The ethnic and racial composition is 8% African American, 12% Asian American, 37% Hispanic, 37% white, and 6% mixed race/other. Thirty percent of the participants have a high school degree or less, while 70% have some college or more. (In this respect, educational levels are higher than for the Los Angeles region as a whole, in which 46% have a high school degree or less.) Household income levels among the participants are somewhat lower than the region with 56% percent of participants live in households with annual incomes below $50,000 (compared to 44% for the Los Angeles region), while 19% of participants are from households with more than $100,000 annual income (25% for the region).
The WWViews methods are modeled after citizen deliberations that have taken place across Europe on other complex scientific issues over the past 10-15 years. The Danish Board of Technology, a parliamentary technology assessment organization, is managing the project.
Sessions at local sites will involve one hundred participants seated at tables of 7-8 people for a full day of discussions. The dialogue is structured and facilitated so that participants bring similar information to the table and have an opportunity to exchange views in the process of developing their own. The identical set of questions will be addressed at all sites in the world. Results from deliberations on every continent will be publicized immediately via the World Wide Web.
Richard K. Worthington
WWViews Los Angeles Coordinator & Pomona College Professor of Politics
Office: (909) 607-3529
For more information on WWViews, visit www.wwviews.org.