Six select committees of the House of Commons decided to commission Climate Assembly UK2 – the first UK-wide citizens’ assembly on climate change.
The committees asked the assembly to examine the question: “How should the UK meet its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050?” This already limited the work of the Assembly with a target date 20 years later than many believe to be both desirable and achievable.
Climate Assembly UK has 108 members, who together are intended to be representative of the UK population in terms of both demographics and their level of concern about climate change. They met as an assembly over six weekends between the end of January and the middle of May 2020. This report presents their recommendations – assembly members’ detailed and considered views on the path to net zero.
First impressions are that the recommendations arising out of their deliberations are unambitious. Surely, the most important question this group could have been asked should have been about what they believe to be the target date for achieving net-zero. However, this Conservative government use targets as ‘aspirational ambitions’ rather than dates by which outcomes MUST be achieved.