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The latest draft of the working-group report on mitigating climate change is now open for review by governments and scientists, as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment. We think it is now time to include citizens’ views.

Despite some progress since the 2014 assessment, non-scientists are barely represented in the integrated modelling studies that underpin such reports. Their involvement has long been promised.

The Paris agreement in 2015 was a great opportunity to bring the public into decision-making. But, despite consultations, there have been few mentions of citizens in the multi-model analyses published since.

As Andrew Isaac Meso has pointed out (Nature 588, 220; 2020), last year’s US election highlighted a divergence in the opinions of scientists and those of the public. Researchers cannot afford to be seen as aloof and should include wider society in scientific processes: citizens must feel that they are heard.

Promises to engage the public in inclusive and transparent dialogue are all very well, but we must now put these ideas into practice.

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