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Arizona joins voices from around the world to share views on climate change

June 17, 2015

When it comes to the future of our planet, we're all in this together.

That's why the World Wide Views Alliance organizes worldwide events to gather the input not of experts, but of “ordinary” citizens who are nevertheless stakeholders in global issues.

The latest event, in June, was focused on climate and energy – a one-day series of 96 debates that rolled out in time zones around the world, beginning in Fiji and ending with a meeting of 95 community members at Arizona State University in Tempe. In what organizers call the largest ever citizen deliberation on climate and energy, the views of about 10,000 people were compiled.

At each location, people of varied backgrounds – not policy experts, but regular citizens whose demographic diversity matched that of their locale – discussed and voted on solutions to climate and policy issues in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this December.

“Something I found astounding is the wisdom and insight on these complex issues revealed by people of such varied backgrounds and perspectives,” said Netra Chhetri, an associate professor with ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning. “And the degree of agreement on some of the questions between regions dealing with far different circumstances is interesting as well.”

The results, which will be shared with national delegates of the participating countries as well as the UN climate summit in Paris, show strong support among participants for action by their own country even if other countries do not act. Globally, 67 percent say a long-term goal of zero emissions at the end of the century should be legally binding for all countries.

Chhetri described WWV deliberations as a method for giving ordinary people a role in shaping their future.

“WWViews is not a campaign; it is not about telling people what to do,” Chhetri said. “It is about asking people what they think. It is not a poll. It is not a survey. It is informed citizen participation.”

Penny Walker

News director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications