Deliberative Climate Politics

From Citizens' Assemblies to Responsive Democratic Systems?


Event Description

Are citizens' assemblies a solution to solve two pressing crises: democratic dissatisfaction and climate emergency? The Citizens' Convention for Climate, and the Great National Debate in France, or the Conference on the Future of Europe, were attempts presented as new initiatives. Recently, many climate assemblies are or have been organized at the national level, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc. These large-scale processes bring together randomly selected ordinary citizens tasked to provide public policy recommendations, after hearing experts and stakeholders, and deliberating among themselves. 

What are the promises, limitations, and risks of these democratic experimentations? Is there a deliberative specificity for climate policies, where non-elected representatives might be more concerned about long-term sustainability rather than re-election? These innovations, called mini-publics, indicate how difficult it is to reach high deliberative quality, considering moral pluralism, uncertainty, and the requirement of argumentation among different communicational capacities. Beyond citizens’ assemblies themselves, we must critically examine a possible necessity to move from deliberation in mini-publics to a true deliberative system, both pluralist and responsive.  


Deborah Yashar, Donald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs; Professor of Politics and International Affairs; Director, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University


Bernard Reber, Senior Research Director, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Sciences Po Paris 

Dimitri Courant, Postdoctoral research associate and Fung Global Fellow, PIIRS, Princeton University 


Christopher H. Achen, Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences, Emeritus; Professor of Politics, Emeritus, Princeton University  

Jan-Werner Muller, Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences. Professor of Politics. Director, Project in Political Philosophy, Princeton University

  • PIIRS Princeton Institute for International and Regional Affairs
  • Fung Global Fellows Program
  • Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP)