An ongoing issue for practitioners of climate assemblies is how to engage the broader public in the work of the assembly. The Austrian Klimarat (national climate assembly) that took place in 2022 experimented with the innovative digital democracy tool Pol.is. This is a rare example of a national climate assembly entering into a form of dialogue with the wider society via a digital platform.
The authors of the report, Andy Paice and Martin Rausch from the Co-Intelligence Institute, document “the how and why of the whole process”. They are candid in their assessment that “in many ways the Pol.is public engagement did not work out as we had anticipated”, but as they rightly assert, “linking a major national citizens assembly to a digital platform such as Pol.is was a wonderful precedent with multiple gifts in the form of many insights that can be used to create a fuller implementation of Polis. The experience therefore represents an opportunity for learning, particularly with regard to the interaction between an in person ‘mini-public’ and a wider digital engagement at a societal level.”
Short summary of the Austrian Citizens’ Climate Assembly