Time for citizen action on climate change? A webinar examining the work of the UK Climate Assembly.

5 Nov 2020 Déarbhla Sloan    Last updated: 6 Nov 2020

Nine months after the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to declare a climate emergency, we ask how a citizen’s assembly could help on “The Path to Net Zero”?

Hosted by NICVA, in co-operation with Involve, the webinar Time for citizen action on climate change? examined the logistics of public participation via a Citizens Assembly and in particular focused on the work and outcomes of the UK Climate Assembly.

UK Climate Assembly member Adrian Hughes, one of four from Northern Ireland, offered an informative first hand account of his role on the Assembly, how he felt the logistics of the Assembly worked, and what his hopes were for the recommendations from the Assembly report. Reflecting on his time on the Assembly, Adrian stated that the UK Climate Assembly provides “The chance to build a society that takes care of everyone and everything, and there is a chance to build a legacy of hope for our very existence.”

Sarah Allan, Head of Engagement for Involve, provided an interesting overview of the UK Climate Assembly, the mechanism for recruiting participants, means of engagement and described how the Assembly provided a new and valuable body of evidence about public preferences on how to get to net zero. Members came from all walks of life across the UK and were representative of the population in terms of population demographics, geography and level of concern about climate change.

Examining the outcomes from the UK Climate Assembly, Rebecca Willis, Professor in Practice at Lancaster Environment Centre, discussed its wide-ranging  recommendations from future policies on travel by land and air, to the food we eat, to how our  electricity should be produced, as well as touching on the impact of covid-19 on how  participants’ thought climate change should be tackled.

The Q&A session encouraged a compelling discussion that examined our own psychology with regards to changing attitudes  to consumerism,  engagement by Government and the approach they will take to the recommendations in the reports, the legacy of the Assembly members, and the global opportunities for information sharing across other climate assemblies.

Watch the recording here:

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