Democratic Innovations in a Green Transition (DIGT)

The research project DIGT studies how to strengthen democracy in a time of multiple climate and biodiversity crises. Emphasis is on the Danish Climate Citizens’ Assembly as well as other climate assemblies in Denmark and abroad.

Photo: Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities
Photo: Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities

Citizens’ assemblies have become an important instrument for addressing the political dilemmas and challenges related to climate change and green transition policies. At the same time, there is relatively little knowledge about their effects and contributions to democracy and the green agenda.

To overcome this lacuna DIGT examines Denmark’s climate citizens’ assembly as well as other assemblies. The main research question is how citizens’ assemblies strengthen support for green transition policies, and to what extent it affects existing channels for public debate and democratic decision-making.

DIGT combines the study of deliberative democracy with affect theory, new materialism, and science and technology studies (STS). The three subprojects are particularly interested in questions of impact, participation, and sovereignty.

The goal is to provide insights for scholars and political actors interested in democracy, climate change, and the Anthropocene.




Subproject 1: Climate citizens’ assemblies as democratic innovation
SP1 situates the Danish Climate Citizens’ Assembly within debates about democratic innovation. It looks for how the model intersects with the lived experiences of its participants, and how it defines specific modes of participation and policy preferences. SP1 uses insights into these areas to assess the capacity of the assembly to create empowerment and support for green transition polities. To this end, SP1 also compares the Danish case to other European climate citizens’ assemblies.

Subproject 2: Climate citizens’ assemblies and the Danish parliament
SP2 focuses on how the Danish Climate Citizens’ Assembly relates to existing democratic institutions, with special focus on the parliament. It answers the questions of how popular consent is channeled and reshaped in the assembly and how compatible this innovation is with the Danish constitutional system and its tradition for citizen participation. Furthermore, the project questions the sovereignty generated in the interaction between parliament and the assembly.

Subproject 3: Climate citizens’ assemblies and civil society
SP3 compares the Danish Climate Citizens´ Assembly with other civil society initiatives. It is particularly interested in how the assembly affects the efforts of other modes of participation, and whether or not it co-opts or even crowds out their place in society. To this end, SP3 uses a “quali-quant” approach to map Denmark´s climate change organizations, showing the many modes of democratic participation and their positioning vis-à-vis the Danish Climate Citizens’ Assembly.






















Climate citizens’ assemblies are one of the fastest-growing types of democratic innovation. In Denmark alone, there are multiple examples of how they inspire change and democratic engagement. Below is a selection of materials for use and inspiration. Feel free to contact DIGT if you have additional material that you would like to add to the list.

The Danish Citizen Assembly on the climate appointed as part of the 2019 Agreement on the Climate Act.


Klimaborgersamling Greve Kommune
For information on the Climate Assembly of the municipality of Greve.


Borgersamlingen Bæredygtigt Forbrug
The citizen assembly on sustainable consumption created by Danish Regions: Region Hovedstaden and Region Midtjylland.


Borgersamling om Lynetteholmen
For information on the Citizen Assembly on artificial island Lynetteholmen that are to be constructed in the Copenhagen Harbor.


OECD report on Citizen Assemblies
The 2020 OECD report “Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions - Catching the Deliberative Wave”.


The Danish Board on Technology is a Danish practitioner in the field of citizen assemblies. They facilitated among others the Danish Citizen Assembly on the Climate.


We Do Democracy
We Do Democracy is a Danish practitioner in the field of citizen assemblies. They have among others facilitated the citizen assembly in the municipality of Greve, as well as on the assembly on sustainable consumption and on Lynetteholmen













Researchers (Internal):

Name Title Phone E-mail
Ingrid Helene Brandt Jensen PhD Fellow +4535333762 E-mail
Lars Tønder Professor with special responsibilities +4535320489 E-mail

Funded by

Logo - Independent Research Fund Denmark

Democratic Innovations in a Green Transition (DIGT) is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark

Project: Democratic Innovations in a Green Transition (DIGT)
Project period: 2021-2024

Collaboration partner

The Danish Board of Technology


Lars Tønder
Department of Political Science
Phone: +45 35 32 04 89

Researchers (External):

Irina Papazu, Associate professor, IT-University of Copenhagen
Amnon Lev, Associate professor, Facility of Law, University of Copenhagen
Mads Ejsing, Postdoc, Center for Applied Ecological Thinking, University of Copenhagen
Adam Veng, PhD student, SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen
Frederik Langkjær, The Danish Board on Technology