In June 2019, six Select Committees of the House of Commons (Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Environmental Audit, Housing, Communities and Local Government, Science and Technology, Transport, and Treasury) called a citizens’ assembly to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle climate change to achieve the UK’s net-zero target of 2050. The 110 assembly members were selected to form a representative sample of the UK’s population. Over six weekends from January to May 2020 they heard evidence from a broad range of stakeholders and researchers and then discussed the issues in depth with other members – including those with very different views to their own. The final recommendations are due to be published in September and will be debated in Parliament.
Assembly members asked for their views on the recovery from Covid-19 to be published ahead of the main report, to inform Parliament and Government’s response to the crisis.The interim briefing Covid-19, recovery and the path to net zero was published on 22nd June 2020. An overwhelming majority of the Assembly members say that government, employers and others should support changes to the economy and lifestyles which help achieve the UK’s net zero emissions target.
Meanwhile, on 28th June, the 150 members of the French citizens’ climate assembly concluded their nine months of deliberations on how to reach France’s net-zero target of 2040, by demanding a referendum to institute the crime of ‘ecocide’. They also proposed that ‘the fight against climate change’, ‘the preservation of biodiversity and of the environment’ and the creation of an ‘Environmental Advocate’ be included in the French Constitution.
In the second round of municipal elections on 28th June, Green candidates sparked a green wave across France with major gains including several large cities and towns. The next day President Emmanuel Macron met members of the Climate assembly to provide them with ‘first answers’ and accepted all but three of the 149 recommendations. He also pledged 15 billion euros to tackle the climate crisis.