The Climate Citizens team at Lancaster University investigate the challenges and opportunities afforded by new democratic innovations aimed at engaging citizens in the process of formulating net zero policy. The team is an interdisciplinary group of researchers who draw on sociological theories and methods together with tools from other disciplines. 

In a journal paper published earlier this year, the team critically examine local climate assemblies (LCAs), such as Citizens’ Assemblies or Juries, which have been run by many UK Local Authorities with the goal of developing citizen-led solutions to the climate crisis. The team make the case that a ‘convenient fiction’ underpins the way local authorities explain the rationale for running LCAs – one which depoliticises and presents as liner the function of LCAs. This risks minimising their potential. They argue that, instead, local authority actors and others involved in constructing narratives about LCAs should embrace the messiness and political nature of LCAs. This, they argue, might help advance their full potential in advancing net zero objectives.

A short summary of the paper can be accessed here and the full journal paper is available as an open access paper here.

To read more about the Climate Citizens team follow this link:

 Author: Pancho Lewis (

Pancho is a PhD researcher at Lancaster Environment Centre. He researches energy issues through the lens of cultural politics, with a focus on how industries shape material-cultural lives and the implications this has for the politics of green transitions. Outside of academia he is an environmental advisor and politically active. He sits on the Westminster Energy and Green Transition Committee, chairs his local Labour party branch, and was until last year a Westminster City councillor, where he worked with local communities to successfully press the Council to declare a Climate Emergency and introduce other environmental initiatives.