110 ordinary people from across the UK will take part in the first ever citizens climate assembly this weekend. Starting on Saturday, deliberations will begin to come up with a plan to tackle climate issues and meet the government’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Selected to be a representative sample of the population, the members were selected at random. 30,000 people were mailed randomly and the 110 were chosen from the 2,000 who responded saying they wished to be considered.
They come from different age brackets, reflecting a 2019 Ipsos Mori poll of how concerned the general population is by climate change. Organisers say that of the chosen members, 54 are very concerned, 36 fairly concerned, 16 not very concerned, 3 people are not at all concerned and one person did not know.
According to Sarah Allan, the head of engagement at Involve, which is running the assembly along with the e-democracy project mySociety and the Sortition Foundation, the selection process means that those chosen could include climate sceptics or deniers.
“Those people, just because they’re sceptical of climate change, they’re going to be affected by the steps the government takes to get to net zero by 2050 too and they shouldn’t have their voice denied in that.”
– Sarah Allan, head of engagement at Involve
Alongside four experts to the assembly, a panel of advisers and representatives have helped provide the questions on which assembly members will be asked to give their views. Representatives include renewable energy companies, National Farmers’ Union, Confederation of British Industry, Trades Union Congress and environmental NGOs.
The assembly will meet for four weekends. On the third weekend they will begin making decisions about ways to meet the net zero target.
The key subjects being considered include consumerism, agriculture, domestic energy and transport. As well as commenting on policies, the panel will consider technological solutions to cutting carbon emissions.
The final views will be produced in a report in the spring and will be considered by the select committees. However, there is no guarantee any of the proposals will be taken up by government.
We hope that the citizens climate assembly will begin to show where public opinion is focused on the climate crisis as well as show which areas need more focus. We have already thought about how businesses can reduce their impact on climate change – check out our campaign ‘10 Positive Things Your Business Can Do To Help Reduce Its Impact on Climate Change‘. Hopefully this assembly will aid policy makers in government towards reaching net-zero.
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