Climate Programme

Demsoc's Climate Programme focuses on democratising climate action and involving people in the transition to a just, resilient climate future. We bring expertise in democratic and deliberative practice, research and innovation, to strengthen governance through engaging cities and citizens on topics including climate-neutral cities, climate adaptation, circular economy, mobility, energy transition, and nature-based solutions.

Since 2019 we have been working with over 14 cities across Europe, collaborating with governments at all levels, citizen-led initiatives, funders, researchers, and other NGOs to achieve climate resilience through democratic means, what we term 'climate democracy'.

What is Climate Democracy?

Climate Democracy is the entanglement of two, perpetual processes. Democracy enables participation of everyone in imagining, creating, repairing, and maintaining their joint future. It entails having a say in shaping the democratic infrastructure that allows us to collectively thrive. Climate action is a process by which individual, collective, and systemic decisions are made to nurture and ensure the possibility of an ongoing future on this planet. Climate action enables us a future and Democracy allows it to be a future for all. It is both metaphorical and actual rooted collaboration, which affords equitable, thrivable futures for all. Thus, advancing Climate Democracy today, affords Climate Democracy tomorrow.

Climate Democracy Model

In April 2022 we released the second version of our Climate Democracy Model, encompassing the key learnings from our work across European cities towards climate democracy. The Model features practical, interconnected tools addressing the above categories, for cities and regions to assess and analyse their progress towards climate resilience through democratic means.

The Model is our response to gaps we see in pan-European efforts to ensure climate action is taken in ways that reinforce democracy. Focusing only on expert-led, technical ‘solutions’ towards climate action that lack deep democratic support inevitably fail to build popular consent, and open the way for those who for whatever reason oppose necessary action.

The Model is a compass, not a map. It doesn’t hold the answers, it shows a direction, and wants to provoke conversations for change. It is ambitious yet pragmatic, showing how we can move towards a climate resilient world, democratically. It provides language and tools for cities and regions to explore this question at a local level, to show, assess and celebrate progress, and reveal possibilities for changes in direction. It uses the analogy of tree canopies symbolising protection and durability for the climate resilience of where we live, work and play.

Strategies for a Networked Approach

We also released our Strategies for a Networked Approach in April 2022, to help cities and regions build impactful, purpose-driven relationships and processes around specific projects.

For more information contact Nadja Nickel, Climate Programme Director,


NetZeroCities (Europe)

England's Local Climate Engagement Programme (UK)

European Cities for Climate-Neutral Construction (Italy, Spain)

LIFE-PACT (Belgium, Spain, Poland)

Orléans Metropole's School of Transition (France)

Vienna Participatory Budget on Climate Action (Austria)

Vienna Energy Transition – A Participatory Approach (Austria)

Past projects

Healthy, Clean Cities Deep Demonstrations (Europe)

Scotland's Climate Assembly (UK)

Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly (UK)

Climate Engagement in the West Midlands (UK)


Climate Democracy Model

Climate Democracy Glossary

Climate Theory of Change

Strategies for a Networked Approach

Publications and Media

UK Green Building Council, March 2022

IOPD Conference, November 2021

Innovate 4 Cities conference, October 2021

International Climate Engagement Network (ICEN), Accelerating Climate Action Through Authentic Engagement, Simon Fraser University, October 2021

OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, Case Study, September 2021

A Novel Approach to Local Climate Action in France, Carnegie Europe, April 2021

'Climate Resilience Needs Community Roots', EIT Climate-KIC, March 2021


Adriana O'Phelan

Alexa Waud

Daniela Amann

Edward Andersson

Hanne Bastiaensen

Juan López-Aranguren Blázquez

Kate Goodwin

Laura Hohoff

Martina Francesca

Mélodie Caraty

Max Stearns

Nadja Nickel

Ola Ziętek

Raphaël Pouyé

Sophie Kiesouw

Tara Tepavac

Wouter Jeuris

Climate Advisory Group

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