Pioneering citizens’ assembly publishes findings

More than 100 people from all walks of life, brought together to understand public preferences on how to tackle climate change, have published around 50 recommendations for reaching net zero.

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned in 2019 by six Select Committees of the House of Commons to give policymakers a clear view on how the public thinks the UK should meet its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The 108 participants were selected randomly through a civic lottery to form a representative sample of the national population.

Following 60 hours of discussions across six weeks in 2020, which included questioning 47 different speakers from academia, industry and policy, the Assembly has now published its final recommendations.


The report issues around 50 recommendations across a range of key themes such as travel, energy use in the home, diet and land use, what we buy and where our electricity comes from. Some of the most popular policy recommendations include:

  • Land Travel: Government investment in low carbon buses and trains, quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles, adding new bus routes and more frequent services.

  • Air travel: Taxes that increase as people fly more often.

  • Household energy use: Support for smaller organisations to offer energy services, changes to product standards, a ban on sales of new gas boilers from 2030-2035. Hydrogen, heat pumps and heat networks were the most popular technologies.

  • Diet and land use: Labelling emissions on food and drink products, information and skills training for farmers, low carbon farming regulations.

  • What we buy: Labelling and information about emissions and recycling of products and services, resource efficiency targets and standards, deposit return schemes.

  • Electricity: Offshore wind, solar power and onshore wind were the most popular technologies. People were less supportive of bioenergy, nuclear, and fossil fuels combined with carbon capture technology.


Impact on policy

Chris Stark, chief executive of the government’s climate watchdog, the Committee on Climate Change, said the committee would draw on the report’s recommendations in its future advice for government.

“Climate Assembly UK has shown there is broad support for climate action in the UK, and we strongly welcome its findings,” he said.

“The views of the Assembly are useful in two ways. They help inform the scenarios we are developing to demonstrate how the UK can reach Net Zero emissions, and they are particularly useful in considering the policies that will help achieve the goal. It’s a real step forward to have this new insight.”



Posted under General Interest and Climate Change and What it Means to You on 23 September 2020