The Climate & Nature Assembly is a citizens’ assembly, a form of deliberative democracy in which ordinary people help guide politicians in making political decisions. A group of randomly selected members of the public representing a cross-section of society will hear from experts, ask questions, deliberate on policy options and make recommendations to help shape government policy. Citizen’s Assembles are growing fast in popularity around the world as a successful way to tackle difficult decisions, with hundreds taking place right now here in the UK. Find out more at www.participedia.net.
A great new BBC documentary follows some of the ordinary members of the public that took part in the limited scope Climate Assembly UK in 2020, interviewing them as they wrestled with the big decisions on how we should respond to climate change. Watch it on BBC iPlayer. Leading Conservative Alok Sharma has spoken out very favourably about this climate assembly.
Citizens Assemblies have been demonstrated around the world to be a very effective way to find consensus on difficult national challenges, helping provide politicians with the legitimacy to make tough decisions. We can probably all agree that our established confrontational political system has not delivered the action needed on climate change over recent decades.
A number of parliamentary committees set up the Climate Assembly UK in 2020 on their own initiative. This was smaller in scale and scope than the Climate & Nature Assembly called for in the CEE Bill, but nevertheless, it was received very favourably across the political spectrum, demonstrating that this concept can work well.
Important note - The Climate and Nature Assembly will not override our democracy. The Assembly will make recommendations on strategy which will be debated in Parliament. But Parliament will remain sovereign at all times with the option to vote down any recommendation made by the Citizens’ Assembly.
A short video explainer on the benefits of citizens assemblies from the Economist.