Parents, grandparents, health workers and engineers to meet for first UK-wide citizens’ assembly on climate change

22 Jan 2020

From Belfast to Bolton, this weekend over 100 people travel to Birmingham to begin to answer the question of how the UK will meet net zero by 2050


This weekend 110 citizens selected to reflect the makeup of the UK population will begin a process to give Parliament and Government an understanding of what people across the UK really think about how the UK can reach the target of net zero emissions by 2050 agreed by Government and Parliament last year. The members will commit a significant portion of their time over four weekends between January and March.

Members of Climate Assembly UK - drawn from different regions, age groups, gender, ethnicity and attitudes to climate change across the UK that reflect our population - will listen to a wide range of views and evidence and make up their minds on issues such as how we travel, what we buy and how we heat our homes. The conclusions and recommendations they reach at the assembly will be published in a report to Parliament in April.

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. I was in the army for 22 years so I’ve not got a problem meeting new people and learning new things, I’m really looking forward to it. I hope Britain can take a leading role with making the changes we need to secure our future.

Assembly Member, Marc, 46, from Newcastle

During this first weekend of January 24-26, the assembly will discuss and agree what underpinning principles they believe should steer the UK’s approach to addressing climate change.

Assembly members will hear from a range of speakers on the overarching ethical and strategic questions that tackling climate change raises. To engage as wide a portion of the population as possible, presentations to Climate Assembly UK will be livestreamed on the website alongside publication of key documents.

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. I am very grateful to the Assembly members for their time. I look forward to hearing the outcome of their discussions – and to chairing House of Commons debates on a topic that is so relevant to us all.

Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons

The citizens’ assembly on climate change gives people a say on how the UK tackles climate change. These are really important issues that affect us all and I want to thank each and every member of the assembly for giving their time to take part. I look forward to – as I’m sure many others will too – hearing their conclusions in the coming months.

Former Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee – one of the six parliamentary committees who called for the Assembly – Rachel Reeves MP

It’s excellent to see people coming together to tackle this global issue. Having committed to end our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050 we will need input from all across the UK, so I look forward to seeing what conclusions the assembly reaches later this year.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom

Climate change is an issue that affects us all and I’m very grateful to the members of the assembly for giving up their weekends to come to Birmingham to discuss the important challenges we face together. Effective action to tackle climate change will not only improve lives for people in the West Midlands and across Britain, but also presents huge opportunities for the UK. The West Midlands - with its long history of car-making - could be a world leader in the growing electric vehicle industry. We’re proud to be hosting the citizens’ assembly in the West Midlands and with concern about climate change at an all-time high both here and around the UK, there could not be a better time to hear what people want for their future.

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street

The assembly was commissioned in June last year by six parliamentary, cross-party committees to give MPs and the Government an understanding of how people think the UK should address climate change, and how it can meet the 2050 net zero emissions target agreed by Government and Parliament last year.