Climate Assembly UK's final report sets out a clear, internally consistent and timely path for reaching the UK's target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Climate Assembly UK’s report, The Path to Net Zero, shows how a representative sample of the population believe the UK should meet its net zero emissions commitment with detailed recommendations across ten areas including: how we travel; what we eat and how we use the land; what we buy; heat and energy use in the home; how we generate our electricity; and greenhouse gas removals.
A guide to the report
The report begins with forewords from the commissioning select committee Chairs and the assembly’s Expert Leads that place the assembly and its report in context.
These forewords are followed by an opening statement from the assembly members that highlights the key themes emerging from their recommendations.
The Executive Summary provides an overview of the key considerations and conditions agreed by Assembly members as well as the balance of support for each recommendation.
Chapter 1 then provides detail of the assembly's process and membership.
Chapters 2 - 11 outline in depth the assembly’s recommendations and the rationale behind them.
Chapters and recommendations
Chapter 1 provides detail of the assembly's process and membership.
Chapters 2 -11 of the report details assembly members’ views on the advantages and disadvantages - including the trade-offs and co-benefits - of different ways of reaching net zero, and the results of the votes by secret ballot that followed.
A snapshot of the Assembly's recommendations and links to each individual chapter are below:
- Assembly members began the process by agreeing a set of principles they believe should underpin the path to net zero. They agreed 25 underpinning principles. Read chapter 2.
- On surface transport, the Assembly aims to minimise restrictions on travel recommending an early shift to electric vehicles and improvement of public transport to make it cheaper, reliable and more accessible. They also backed more local services, amenities and transport links. Read chapter 3.
- For air travel, the Assembly aims to balance protection of travel and lifestyles with a limit to how much air passenger numbers can grow. Its recommendations include taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further, as well as investment in new, cleaner technologies. Read chapter 4.
- On heat and energy use in the home, the assembly looked at areas including retrofits and zero carbon heating. Its recommendations include solutions tailored to local areas and households, greater choice for householders including through steps to increase competition, and reliable and clear information for the public. Read chapter 5.
- On the topic of what we eat and how we use the land, the Assembly stressed the importance of support for farmers during the net zero transition and recommended greater reliance on local produce and local food production, a voluntary change in diet to reduce meat and dairy consumption supported by education and incentives and a “managed diversity” of land use. Read chapter 6.
- When considering what we buy, Assembly members strongly supported a future in which businesses make products using less energy and materials, and low(er) carbon energy and materials, as well as the idea of individuals repairing and sharing more. They also backed better information to promote information choice, including product labelling and steps to increase recycling. Read chapter 7.
- Large majorities of assembly members agreed that three ways of generating electricity should be key part of how the UK gets to net zero: offshore wind, onshore wind and solar power. Read chapter 8.
- Large majorities of assembly members backed three ways of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere: forests and forest management; restoring and managing peatlands and wetlands; and using wood in construction. Read chapter 9.
- Assembly members also made further recommendations they wanted to make to Parliament and government. They worked together to draft suggested additions, which could be on any aspect of the path to net zero. Read chapter 10.
- The report also includes the assembly’s recommendations on Covid-19, recovery and the path to net zero, the key elements of which were originally published in June to help inform the Government's response to the Covid-19 crisis. Read chapter 11.
In total, the report contains over 50 recommendations for policy measures designed to meet the net zero target by 2050.
The report also conveys Assembly members’ agreement on themes that recurred throughout their discussions, on the need for:
- improved information and education for all on climate change;
- fairness, including across sectors, geographies, incomes and health;
- freedom and choice for individuals and local areas;
- and strong leadership from government.
It also stresses the assembly’s support for protecting and restoring nature, and the value of ‘co-benefits’ to tackling climate change, such as improved health, advantages for local communities, high streets and the economy, including by the promotion of innovation in technology. It calls on policy makers to make use of the report as an “invaluable resource” for decision making.