Public Participation and Climate Governance: Opening up or Closing Down Policy Options 

Public Participation and Climate Governance Working Paper by Gwendolyn Blue, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law - 2015

The purpose of this working paper is to raise questions about the exercise of power in formal participatory initiatives on climate change by drawing attention to framing effects. The framing of an issue informs the diagnosis of the problem, the selection of legitimate viewpoints, the definition of alternatives, as well as the prescriptions for how the problem should be addressed. Realized through the design, implementation and interpretation of formal participatory events, framing can influence whether deliberative initiatives ultimately serve to ‘open up’ or ‘close down’ policy discussions (Stirling, 2008). This distinction is of crucial importance, for it poses the question of whether public participation is geared towards containing or augmenting the diversity of possible views and perspectives to inform policy.