Scotland's Climate Assembly: a year on

By Juliet Swann

Senior Project Officer, Scotland

Published on

12 Sep 2021


It’s been a year since the first weekend of Scotland’s Climate Assembly - over 100 people from across the country sat in front of their computers joining a zoom call to hear evidence about the climate emergency and to discuss how Scotland might change to tackle that emergency in a fair and effective way.

As COP 26 draws to a close, it has been inspirational to see some of those 100 people taking part in platform events, speaking to the media, and participating in the Global Day of Action.

We’ve also seen policy announcements that implement recommendations from the assembly including a ban on single use plastics and a network of tool libraries and repair cafes

We know that participating in a citizens assembly, or similar deliberative event strengthens people’s democratic muscle. It makes them more democratically confident, so it’s great to see members of Scotland’s Climate Assembly flexing that muscle.


The Scottish Government has had 6 months to respond to the recommendations of the assembly. Often these responses do little more than gather dust on shelves because the infrastructure that was put in place to deliver the assembly has been disbanded and members are getting on with their lives. There are ways to avoid this, and we’re excited that in an innovative step, Scotland’s Climate Assembly will be making use of our members democratic confidence when we reconvene the assembly in the new year. They will consider the Ministerial response, have an opportunity to reflect upon it, and make recommendations for what should happen next.

Members have also received media training, and are hearing from Full Fact about fact checking and critical thinking, as well as receiving advice on lobbying their elected politicians. 

All of which we hope we not only sustain our members democratic muscle but will also extend the shelf life of their recommendations. 

In the weeks to come we will be hearing from some of our assembly members about their experience of the assembly, and the impact it has had on their lives. 

Photo by Scotland's Climate Assembly Member Ellie