Last year Extinction Rebellion demanded a citizens assembly on climate change be created. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Last year Extinction Rebellion demanded a citizens assembly on climate change be created. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

UK Climate Assembly to debate road to net zero

The UK’s first citizens’ assembly on climate change will meet for the first time this month guided by heavyweights in climate policy.

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six cross-party House of Commons select committees last year in response to the government’s commitment to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Across four weekend-meetings starting this month, the 110 assembly members will explore views on the “fair sharing” of climate policy costs, including a pathway for reaching net-zero by 2050, wherein the UK would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost 100% compared to 1990 levels.

To ensure “balance, accuracy and comprehensiveness” the assembly has been working with three expert groups to consider a range of climate-focused topics including transport, energy use in the home, agriculture and consumer choices.

The 36 experts include heavyweight climate policy figures such as Chris Stark, chief executive of the government’s advisory Committee of Climate Change, Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group and Jim Watson, professor of energy policy at University College London. 

The conclusions reached by the assembly will be fed into future select committee activity and will inform political debate and policymaking but crucially will not be binding -- something the climate protest group Extinction Rebellion objected to last year. 

Climate Assembly UK will meet for its first weekend on 24 January.

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