Citizens in Austria, Germany and Spain participate in local climate protection measures to lower CO2 emissions

This project about e-Participation in the context of climate change has been assigned the ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ Award from the German UNESCO commission.

The international comparative study carried out in Austria, Germany and Spain investigated the effect of electronic vs traditional participation on local climate change protection measures. The aim was to research the effects of various electronic forms of participation as compared to traditional participation, and to find out how collective engagement induces citizens to adapt their climate-related everyday practices. This project has been funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF: I 169-G16) within the EUROCORES ECRP 2008 programme of the European Science Foundation (ESF).

Using an online CO2 calculator, a CO2-book and methods such as telephone and online surveys as well as expert interviews, we investigated the following key research questions:

  • What use is made of e-participation in local policies for sustainable development and climate protection?
  • How does this interactive process affect the attitudes and actual behaviour of citizens?
  • Which factors account for commonalities and differences in use and impacts of e-participation within and across countries?
  • What are the impacts of e-participation in terms of attitudinal, behavioural and policy changes towards sustainable development and on local democracy?

CO2 reduction by energy saving, changing nutrition and consumption behaviour and ecology-minded mobility behaviour is only possible with the active involvement of citizens. Hence, it is especially important to find the best ways to engage the public in this process. With its multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, the project aims at closing the still persisting evaluation gap in the field of e-participation.

ITA dossier No. 9 ("Local citizen engagement in climate protection") provides a summary of the project outcomes.


08/2009 - 04/2014


  • Georg Aichholzer