A European low carbon society is essential for preventing climate change and needs to come rapidly. An open, effective and democratic European low carbon knowledge-based society will be built by integrating scientific and technological endeavor in the European social network and by encouraging European reflection and debate. Roadmaps towards low carbon society are now under development. The roadmaps are being developed mainly by research organizations, industry and policy. Up until now civil society and its representatives have not been involved sufficiently in the development of a low carbon society. The implications for specific parts of society are large. Transition to a low carbon society as mapped out in the roadmaps is a total turnaround of the energy production which affects specific parts of society. As a consequence the technologies needed to take up the challenge of climate change often suffer from a nimby (‘not in my backyard’) reaction from the public opinion. Research institutions must therefore address these fears as a priority challenge. Understanding by, and involvement of, civil society of steps to be taken is essential, absence of understanding can block or slow down progress which would severely endanger reaching the ultimate goal of avoiding irreversible climate change. In order to effectively involve civil society, it is necessary that the needs, preferences and concerns of different social constituencies are recognized, made explicit and that they are responded to and taken account of.
The objective of the R&Dialogue project was to organize a dialogue between R&D organizations (RDO’s) and civil society organizations (CSOs) which should result in a joint vision of CSOs and RDOs for a low carbon society and in the identification of actions to improve the dialogue and associated mutual learning. This project focused on renewable energies and CCS (Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage) in order to keep the scope of the dialogue manageable.
In the R&Dialogue project, we facilitated in ten countries a low-carbon dialogue with representatives from energy, the low-carbon R&D community, social actors and others. In each country, a ‘coalition of the willing’ explored the challenges of dialogue and articulated its view on improving the dialogue. The European Dialogue Report is a collection of experiences in dialogue and a reflection on the themes emerging from those dialogues.
Further project results under: www.rndialogue.eu
This project received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 288980.