A three-part citizen jury style public dialogue addressing carbon emissions reductions. The results informed the Committee on Climate Changes' advice to the UK government on the 4th Carbon Budget.
Problems and Purpose
Hopkins van Mil was commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) with support from Sciencewise to design and deliver a pilot public dialogue to improve understanding of public opinions and attitudes towards greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and the costs and challenges in meeting the 4th Carbon Budget. The Committee was due to advise the Government on the 4th Carbon Budget in December 2013 and the outcomes of the dialogue process were to feed into the policy recommendations the Committee would make .
The key objectives for the dialogue were to allow the CCC to learn more about:
- Public understanding of the global climate change challenge and acceptability of the risks of global climate change compared to the costs of global action.
- Public views of the UK’s role and responsibility within global action, their understanding of what the UK and others are doing, and tolerance for the risks of moving first vs. the benefits.
- Public understanding of and attitudes to energy bill impacts of UK action – including whether the public understand what has driven price changes historically, understanding of what may happen to prices/bills in future and the possible trade-offs between higher but stable prices, or lower but more volatile prices, and how public acceptability of the case for action is impacted by levels of expected cost.
- Public understanding of, and attitudes towards, the wider implications of UK action – including whether the CCC’s rationale for budget levels - e.g. small economic costs with potential to mitigate competitiveness concerns, potential for increased energy security, UK contribution to insurance against potentially catastrophic climate change - is accepted as a reasonably balanced approach.
- Whether the public think the case for UK action has changed significantly since the fourth carbon budget was legislated in June 2011. For example, do they think the recession and its impact in reducing emissions should lead to a lowering or tightening of long-term ambition?  
Background History and Context
The CCC is required to take into account a number of matters specified in the Climate Change Act when providing advice in relation to carbon budgets. These include scientific knowledge about climate change, relevant technology, and economic and social circumstances. While public understanding of climate change is not directly identified as a separate matter to consider, it clearly plays into the acceptability of carbon budgets and how they are met, including around the science, costs and views about specific technologies. Therefore, it is an important consideration in CCC’s work.
Previous CCC advice has reflected assessment of relevant science, economics and technology issues. This has provided evidence as to the potential availability and costs of abatement. It has also fed into assumed trajectories for the implementation and take-up of measures, for example in relation to the 2050 carbon emissions reductions targets. This has included recommendations regarding the first three carbon budgets, setting ceilings on emissions of greenhouse gasses in the UK for the periods (2008- 2012, 2013- 2017 and 2018- 2022) 
Financial and non-financial barriers to take-up have been part of that assessment, depending on technology. Nevertheless, there remain wider issues around the acceptability of costs to the public and attitudes to new technologies. These include discussions on the climate problem generally, whether the UK should take a leading role in tackling a global problem, and understanding of energy price and bill implications.
This dialogue project was intended to provide further insights into public acceptability of climate policies and their accompanying impacts, and to feed into the CCC’s advice to the Government on the most appropriate level for the 4th Carbon Budget. The 4th Carbon budget covered the period 2023- 2027, with the CCC set to advise the government in December 2013.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Total cost of the project: £43,500
Commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Sciencewise-ERC provided support and co-funding (£21,700) of the dialogue. Following an open call, Hopkins Van Mill were contracted to deliver the project, and Icaro were contracted to evaluate the project. 
Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
The Committee on Climate Change is an independent, statutory body established to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change and is the commissioning agent.
Hopkins Van Mil
Hopkins Van Mil facilitate engagement to gain insight and offer solutions for participation; public dialogue and community engagement, and was the delivery contractor for the dialogue.
Icaro Consulting is a strategic research consultancy specialising in the planning, development and delivery of sustainability, and was the evaluation contractor for the dialogue.
Sciencewise-ERC is a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills funded programme to bring scientists, government and the public together to explore the impact of science and technology in our lives. It helps Government departments and agencies commission and use public dialogue to inform policy making, involving science and technology issues. Its core aim is to develop the capacity of Government to carry out good dialogue, to gather and disseminate good practice, have successful two-way communications with the public and other stakeholders, and to embed the principles of good dialogue into internal Government processes.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
- Total public participants: 25
- Total stakeholders involved: 8
- Total expert involved: 3 speakers across the three events 
The CCC established an oversight group to ensure the project would be delivered on time and to standard. This group consisted of 11 members, representing organisations including HVM, Icaro, Sciencewise, Which? and the CCC itself. Full details of membership can be found in the Final Report (see FR).
Acumen Fieldwork performed the recruitment process; they were instructed by HVM to recruit a sample of 25 people residing in the Greater London area who were broadly representative of the population of the United Kingdom in terms of gender, life stage, social grade/household income, religion and ethnicity.
The decision to focus on one location – Greater London – was done for reasons relating to the short timeframe and budgetary constraints, but does necessarily restrict the ability of the dialogue to reflect any regional perspectives.
The criteria included: the exclusion of those involved with an energy company or a field related to climate change, 50% male and female, good distribution of age including 20% 18-35s, spread of people across working status and type, 50% describing themselves as having high knowledge and 50% describing themselves as having little or no knowledge, 50% saying they follow debate on climate change closely and 50% saying they do not closely follow the debate .
Methods and Tools Used
Short warm-up and baseline sessions each meeting ensured panel members were clear about their role and the process. Deliberation was conducted in small groups and in panel discussions. The panel discussion approach enabled panel members to deliberate on the issues through individual reflection (involving post-it exercises, ideas wall, paired discussion) and group reflection (involving brainstorming with flip chart recording, roving ideas storm - sub groups moving around the room, role playing pessimistic/optimistic/fact focused). All of this was guided by the specialist facilitators who used these tools to ensure that everyone had their voice heard and recorded.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
As there was a need to share and deliberate on complex information in a short space of time and within a tight budget, HVM designed a dialogue in three parts, adopting elements of the Citizen’s Jury dialogue model. To enable deep engagement with the issues, the dialogue participants formed a panel that was taken on a journey from exploring the context of carbon emission reductions to making recommendations to the Committee on Climate Change to inform their review of the Government’s 4th Carbon Budget.
Presentations by Expert Witnesses provided the framework for small group deliberation and ensured that panel members gradually gained knowledge about the issues affecting the 4th Carbon Budget.
To ensure panel members were clear about their role and the process from the outset HVM used a short warm up and baseline session for each meeting. At the beginning of the first discussion panel members were moved into their three randomly selected small groups and invited to consider any questions they had on the process. Feedback included questions about the role of the Committee on Climate Change; the independence of the expert witnesses; the context of the discussions; and how the panel’s views would affect the Government’s decision making on the 4th Carbon Budget.
The panel discussion approach enabled panel members to deliberate on the issues at hand in two main ways: Individual reflection and group reflection, guided by the specialist facilitators.
Workshop 1: Climate Change Challenge (October 9th)
- Topics: what the science tells us about climate change, a global challenge, introducing the UK response
- Dr Steve Smith – Climate scientist, Committee on Climate Change Secretariat: The science of climate change
- Adrian Gault – Chief Economist, CCC Secretariat: Global action on climate change
Workshop 2: Proposed Measures (October 10th)
- Topics: UK plans for carbon emission reduction, implications of UK action
- Adrian Gault – Chief Economist, CCC Secretariat: What is the UK doing to tackle climate change?
- Mike Thompson – Head of Carbon Budgets, CCC Secretariat: Costs and impact of UK action on climate change
Workshop 3: Synthesis (12th October)
- Additional presentations, review of evidence, formulation of recommendations 
- Mike Thompson, Adrian Gault and Sarah Leck from the Committee on Climate Change Secretariat prepared answers to the main outstanding issues and questions and delivered a presentation on those at the start of the third meeting. 
Reporting and dissemination
The dialogue report, CCC’s report to Government and its technical report were all published in December 2013 on the CCC and Sciencewise websites. HVM sent an email link to the dialogue report and CCC technical report to all participants in the public dialogue. Both the Committee’s reports refer directly to the dialogue process.
As part of the dialogue process, the public formulated recommendations for consideration by the Committee on Climate Change as part of the review of the 4th Carbon Budget, including:
- Greater public debate and engagement on the sorts of measures the Committee is considering in the 4th Carbon Budget review
- Education at all levels on climate change and carbon emission reductions
- Acting now by investing in safe, renewable energy sources
- Incentivising positive contributions by individuals and business in the form of grants and tax breaks
- Keeping data up to date and using current data to inform policy advice
- The issue of climate change is too important to be swayed by party politics and independent advice followed by legislation, as necessary, is essential. 
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The case study identifies the following impact on policy and policy makers.
"The outcomes of the public dialogue influenced the second part of the CCC’s formal advice to the Government on the 4th Carbon Budget, which was published in December 2013. The dialogue is referenced in the CCC’s main advice to Government, while the panel’s six key recommendations are outlined in full in a supporting Technical Report.
The Committee concluded that many of the points raised in the public dialogue were consistent with the developing CCC approach. However, the reflection of these in the deliberation confirmed and increased the CCC’s confidence in their thinking and direction of travel. It also indicated approaches and technologies where participants were enthusiastically supportive (e.g. the international leadership provided by the UK in this field, and heat pumps), and where the public were more cautious (e.g. carbon capture and storage (CCS)).
In addition, the dialogue report has sparked further internal discussion, including in relation to future research needs, and is likely to inform other forthcoming reports to Government" .
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The evaluation report and case study identified the following lessons for the future.
What worked well
"The dialogue was effectively designed and delivered overall, with numerous elements of good practice that are not necessarily present in other dialogue projects. For example, the think pieces were concise, accessible and sent out in advance, so participants could start to absorb the initial briefing early. Similarly, the presentations by specialists and other supporting materials were very well received. The reconvening of participants three times over four days created significant momentum. All participants stayed involved for all these events, which demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm and commitment; this was also reflected in positive feedback from participants. The final session, provided direct interaction between the participants and the CCC during which time the panel’s recommendations were presented and the CCC responded.
The dynamic of the events was particularly notable and, in particular, the openness of the discussion between participants as peers as well as with stakeholders in the room. The dialogue empowered participants to be comfortable and able to engage with the subject matter on an equal footing with others. These successes are all the more impressive in light of the extremely challenging timescale constraints." 
What worked less well
"Firstly, the project timescale was a significant constraint and had a series of impacts, from materials development and speaker availability through to the establishment and functioning of the Oversight Group. On the latter, the timings precluded input from external organisations and, to some extent, set up a two-tier process. The working relationships of the Oversight Group were likely to have been improved had there been sufficient time for them to convene together from the outset and make decisions collectively.
Secondly, there was a desire among participants for more direct engagement with stakeholders in the room, rather than through the facilitators. This was most evident in terms of the time allocated to speaker Q&A and, such was the success of the final panel debate, participants would have liked this session to be extended a little.
Finally, the style of the dialogue was very effective at creating a participant-led agenda, and one in which participants were clearly comfortable engaging with stakeholders. However, it is likely that a slightly more directed final session, which was linked back to some of CCC’s original questions for the dialogue, could have delivered some more specific outcomes" .
 Hopkins Van Mil (2013) “UK Response to Climate Change Final Report: Findings Public Dialogue”, 8 November 2013, https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Hopkins-Van-Mil-Public-Dialogue-Report.pdf
 Sciencewise (2015) “Case Study: Trajectories for Carbon Emission Reductions”
 Icaro (2014) “Evaluating the Trajectories for Carbon Emission Reductions Public Dialogue Project: Report for Sciencewise and the Committee on Climate Change”, March 2014
 The Committee on Climate Change (2010) “The Fourth Carbon Budget: Reducing Emissions through the 2020s”, December 2010
 Sciencewise (2015) “Trajectories for Carbon Emission Reductions” (ONLINE) Available at: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20170110132540/http://www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/trajectories-for-carbon-emission-reductions/