Six select committees are to combine to hold a Citizens’ Assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions.
The Assembly will take place over a number of weekends in the autumn/winter of 2019 and produce a report shortly after the conclusion of the sessions.
The Committees (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury) will be able to use the findings of the report and take evidence directly from Assembly participants. The Committees will be seeking a partner to organise and help deliver the Citizens’ Assembly. The contractor will be involved in preparing background learning materials, identifying expert and stakeholder speakers, and the setting the topics and questions to be addressed.
The Committees will also be examining ideas to engage public views online on the policies needed to achieve net-zero, supported by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.
The Citizens’ Assembly is designed to explore views on the fair sharing of potential costs of different policy choices and is intended to provide input to future select committee activity and will inform political debate and Government policy making.
Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: “The Citizens Assembly announced by six Select Committees today will give an opportunity for public input into the climate change debate. It will also help to provide committees with a clearer insight into the public’s views on the fair sharing of the potential costs of different policy choices and how we can best meet them It’s clear that meeting the net-zero target will involve all parts of our economy, from, for example, heating our homes, electric vehicles and decarbonising transport, to energy infrastructure, green finance, and low-carbon goods and services. I hope the Citizens Assembly will demonstrate that, when all is considered, there is strong public support – even demand - for the Government to take the action necessary to deliver the benefits of net zero by 2050.”
Select Committees have used Citizens assemblies in their work in the past. For example, the Health and Social Care Select Committee and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee commissioned a Citizens’ Assembly as part of their joint inquiry into the long term funding of adult social care.