Climate Assembly UK brings together people from all walks of life to discuss how the UK can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. At the assembly, participants learn about climate change and how the UK can address it, take time to discuss this with one another, and then make recommendations about what should happen.
In June 2019, six Select Committees of the House of Commons called a citizens’ assembly to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle climate change because of the impact these decisions will have on people’s lives. A Select Committee is a group of MPs from different political parties – they examine policy issues, hold the Government to account and make proposals for new laws.
The citizens’ assembly was launched before the dissolution of Parliament for the general election, to ensure that the assembly’s report will be available to the new Parliament as it begins its work.
‘Climate Assembly UK: the path to net zero’ will consider how the UK can meet the Government’s legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero 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. It will also have to balance any remaining emissions by absorbing the same amount from the atmosphere. The actions required to do this will change the way we heat our homes, what we buy, how we travel, and many other aspects of our lives, as all of these result in emissions in some way. What exactly these impacts are will depend on what the UK does to meet its target, and how it does it.
Climate Assembly UK participants will discuss these questions. They will be selected from different walks of life, shades of opinion, and from throughout the UK to form a representative sample of the UK’s population.
The outcomes of their discussions, which will be held in central Birmingham from January to March 2020, will be presented to the six select committees. The committees will use them as a basis for detailed work on implementing the assembly’s recommendations, which will also be debated in the House of Commons. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for the public to contribute to climate change debate, and to influence action taken by Government and Parliament.
The six House of Commons Select Committees who commissioned Climate Assembly UK are Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Environmental Audit; Treasury; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science & Technology; and Transport.
The House of Commons has contracted three organisations to run Climate Assembly UK on its behalf – The Involve Foundation (‘Involve’), Sortition Foundation, and mySociety. Read more about who is involved in running Climate Assembly UK here.