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Researchers from Lincoln are using citizen social science as a way to bring citizens and experts together to co-produce both climate research and policies that build on citizens’ values, knowledge and experiences. This has influenced local climate policy, enhanced knowledge and awareness of the role citizen social science can play in tackling climate change, and informed climate conversations around the globe, through the communities of the Anglican Church.



The Fifth Assessment Report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that the warming of the climate is unequivocal and that human influence on the climate is clear. However, despite this report being published in 2014, existing government policy approaches around the world are struggling to limit global temperatures below the 1.5 to 2°C Paris target. Governments predominantly use top-down approaches that have limited opportunities for citizens to engage in and influence policy change.



Research into climate policy responses has found that traditional top-down climate change policies have limited citizen agency. This led these researchers to propose the alternative approach of ‘citizen social science’.



The team’s research into citizen social science demonstrates that bridging the gap between citizens and young people with scientists, policymakers and other experts, enables better-informed decision-making.

A collaboration between the City of Lincoln Council, Siemens, Transition Lincoln and the team of researchers at University of Lincoln established the new Lincoln Climate Commission. The commission drew upon the research to lobby the city council to adopt a net zero carbon target by 2030.

The research team was approached in 2018 by the then Bishop of Lincoln to co-organise and host an international conference on addressing human-induced climate change, called “Moana Water of Life? Navigating Climate Change for Planetary Health”. The conference, held in August/September 2019, brought together around 150 diverse stakeholders from the UK, USA, Polynesia and New Zealand, including academics, religious leaders, ‘green’ businesses, students and members of the general public. Feedback from delegates at the conferences bolsters the concept of citizen social science as a tool to engage disparate and diverse communities, including major religious organisations, in addressing the climate emergency.


More information

Institution: University of Lincoln 

Researchers: Professor Edward Hanna, Dr Andrew Kythreotis, Professor Mark Macklin, Dr Theresa Mercer


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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (date) Moana Water of Life: navigating climate change for planetary health. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>