UK citizens' assembly on climate change prepares for first meeting

22nd January 2020


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Over 100 members of the general public will meet this weekend for the UK's first citizens' assembly on climate change to discuss how the country should achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Members of the Climate Assembly UK will travel to Birmingham on Friday for the start of four weekend meetings between January and March.

Their recommendations will be presented to parliament at the end of April, and will cover issues such as how people should travel and heat their homes.

The 110 members of the assembly are drawn from different regions, age groups, genders, ethnicities and attitudes towards climate change to reflect the population.

This includes three citizens that are not at all concerned about climate change, 16 that are not very concerned, 36 that are fairly concerned, 54 that are very concerned, and one that is unsure.

Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said: “Concern about climate change is as high as ever, and it's clear we all need to play our part to achieve the net zero emissions target that was passed into UK law by parliament last year.

This is why I welcome the work of Climate Assembly UK, a great example of parliamentarians engaging with the public to help influence their work and proposals for action.

The assembly was commissioned in June last year by six parliamentary, cross-party committees to give MPs an understanding of how the public thinks climate change should be tackled.

From 30,000 invitations sent to random households, more than 1,500 responded to confirm their availability, before a computer cut this down to 110 to produce a highly representative sample.

Assembly member, Marc, 46, from Newcastle, said: “I felt like I'd won the lottery when I got the letter. I'd be daft not to do it – it's amazing to get the chance to have a say and influence what may happen in the future.

Extinction Rebellion issued a statement today welcoming the creation of a citizens' assembly, but said that it does not meet its demand of being led by the government.

The activist group warned that ministers could simply ignore the recommendations, that the 2050 target for net zero emissions is not ambitious enough anyway, and that biodiversity would be off the agenda.

We look forward to seeing the developments around Climate Assembly UK, and hope the government will take note and commission its own assembly; one that truly empowers participants to decide on the action needed to address the climate and ecological emergency, the statement added.

Presentations to the Climate Assembly UK will be livestreamed on https://www.climateassembly.uk/ alongside the publication of key documents.

Image credit: ©iStock

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