From Wednesday 6 November, 30,000 invitation letters will be landing on doormats across the UK – including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – inviting people to join Climate Assembly UK.
Participants in Climate Assembly UK, which was commissioned by six cross-party House of Commons Select Committees , will look at how the UK will reach its net zero emissions climate target, and what can be done by members of the public to help reduce carbon emissions. The citizens’ assembly has been launched before the dissolution of Parliament, to ensure that the assembly’s report is available to the new Parliament as it begins its work.
In June this year, following a recommendation by independent advisors the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK became the first major economy in the world to adopt a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This means that by 2050 the UK will have to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it produces to a much lower level than today, and balance its remaining emissions by absorbing the same amount from the atmosphere.
Commenting, Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said,
“Adopting the net zero target was a major milestone for the UK, reflecting the strong cross-party support for action on climate change.
“We now need to set out a clear roadmap for the actions to achieve net-zero. It’s very clear that we will all need to play a part in meeting this target and that we all share a responsibility to future generations to do so. Finding solutions which are equitable and have public support will be crucial. Parliament needs to work with the people and with Government to address the challenge of climate change.
“The Climate Assembly UK will advise Parliament on how people want us to meet the net zero target, and suggest policies that the Government can implement to secure success.”
Citizens’ assemblies bring together people from all walks of life to discuss important issues. They have been used all around the world, including in the UK, to help shape the work of governments and parliaments. 30,000 addresses have been chosen at random to receive invitations to participate in Climate Assembly UK which will run over four weekends between late January to the middle of March next year in Birmingham. A representative sample of the population will then be selected from those who respond to the invitation, with 110 people taking part in the assembly.
Commenting, Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee said,
“Public concern around climate change is as high as it has ever been and this is a chance for people from all parts of society to come together, to decide how we as a country can best meet our net zero emissions target.
“Net zero is an opportunity, therefore, for people to not just explore ways in which the UK can end its contribution to climate change, but also create a cleaner, healthier environment as well as benefit from the opportunities around creating a low-carbon economy.”
Key themes to be discussed at Climate Assembly UK will include how people travel, what people buy and household energy use. The outcomes of discussions will be presented to the six select committees, who will use it as a basis for detailed work on implementing its recommendations. It will also be debated in the House of Commons.
Notes to editors:
- The six Select Committees of the House of Commons that commissioned the citizens’ assembly are: Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury.
- The Select Committees involved in commissioning the citizens’ assembly have been considering the government’s net-zero commitment: Science and Technology Committee’s Technologies for meeting Clean Growth emissions reduction targets inquiry; Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s Energy Efficiency inquiry; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s Agriculture, achieving net-zero emissions inquiry; Environmental Audit Committee’s Net zero government inquiry; Treasury Committee’s Decarbonisation of the UK economy and Green Finance inquiry
- A citizens’ assembly is a group of people who are brought together to discuss an issue or issues, and reach a conclusion about what they think should happen. The people who take part are chosen so they reflect the wider population – in terms of demographics (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, social class) and sometimes relevant attitudes (e.g. views on climate change).
- Citizens’ assemblies give members of the public the time and opportunity to learn about and discuss a topic, before reaching conclusions. Assembly members are asked to make trade-offs and arrive at workable recommendations.
- Citizens’ assemblies, and other similar methods, have been used by governments and parliaments in the UK and other countries – including Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United States – to address a range of complex issues.
- Select Committees have used Citizens assemblies in their work previously. For example, the Health and Social Care Select Committee and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee commissioned a Citizens’ Assembly as part of their joint inquiry into the long term funding of adult social care.
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