Following recommendations by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK Parliament passed a law in June 2019 committing the UK to reaching ‘net-zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Six House of Commons Select Committees then commissioned the Climate Assembly UK to advise Parliament on how people want it to meet the net zero target, and suggest policies that the Government can implement to secure success.
This is not the first such assembly in the UK. Governments and parliaments at national and local level have called citizens’ assemblies to look at issues including: how adult social care in England should be funded long-term (called by the UK Parliament in 2018); air quality (by Kingston Council in 2019); the future of Scotland (by the Scottish Government in 2019-2020); and climate change (by Oxford City Council, Camden Council, and others in 2019-2020).
Working with the Sortition Foundation, involve and mySociety, Parliament sent out 30,000 letters in November to people chosen at random inviting them to join the first UK-wide citizens’ assembly on climate change. From those who responded to the invitation, a representative sample of 110 people was then selected to take part in the Assembly.
The first meeting of the Assembly was held in Birmingham on the weekend of 24-26 January 2020. Three further meetings are planned in February and March. Key themes to be discussed will include: how people travel, what they buy and their household energy use.
The outcomes of the Assembly’s discussions will be presented to the six Select Committees, who will use it as a basis for detailed work on implementing its recommendations. They will also be debated in the House of Commons.
More information: www.climateassembly.uk