A number of climate assemblies have been organised across Europe at national, regional and local levels. These vary in design and ambition. Initially, KNOCA is focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on national level assemblies. We have created short summaries of the following national climate assemblies:
French, German, Spanish and English versions of this material can be downloaded at the bottom of this page
The Spanish Citizen Assembly for the Climate
Purpose. To reinforce citizens’ participation in a social dialogue on the major issues involved in the ecological transition as one of the follow ups of the Declaration on the Climate Emergency.
Commissioning. The Council of Ministers (the main collective decision-making body of the Government) approved the Declaration on the Climate Emergency in Spain. One of the commitments of the Declaration was the convening of a Citizen Assembly for the Climate, a commitment that is enshrined in Law 7/2021 of May 2020 on climate change and energy transition.
Task. “A safer and fairer Spain in the face of climate change” How do we do it?
Commitment to respond. At the establishment of the Assembly, the Government committed to use the assembly’s recommendations to facilitate debate on climate change and to inform decision-making. Following the publication of the report, the government committed to communicate progress on the extent of implementation of the recommendations in a year.
Governance. An independent Coordination Panel, responsible for the preparation, commissioning and logistical support, composed of two organisations: the Red Esapñola para el Desarrollo Sostenible” (REDS) and the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3). The Coordination Panel also supported the work of the Independent Group of Experts and coordinated with the Facilitation Team during the Assembly. The Independent Group of Experts (IGE) made up of a multidisciplinary, multisectoral, and multigenerational experts in the field of climate, energy, biodiversity, the environment and social transformation, among others. IGE made decisions on the knowledge provision for the sessions, including proposing the thematic issues that were open for public consultation (see below). The Facilitation Team (Grupo Cooperativo Tangente) was responsible for the design and implementation of the sessions, and consulted regularly with the IGE, facilitated by the Coordination Panel. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, through the Spanish Office of Climate Change, acted as secretariat
Delivery bodies. Recruiting, facilitation and communication teams selected through open tender processes through the Fundación Biodiversidad funded by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.
Participant recruitment. The Recruiting Team (an independent company, Andaira) responsible for selection of assembly members. 100 participants and 50 alternates (10 replacements made before Session 3) selected through random stratified sampling. Criteria applied: age, gender, educational level, geographical origin, and residence in urban or rural areas. Participants received the equivalent per diem to amount received for administering elections for the 6 weekends, plus all travel expenses for the last in-person session.
Duration. Between Nov 2021 and May 2022, one weekend per month and a zero preparatory session for using online tools.
Structure. The Assembly met online for one introductory and capacity building on digital tools session on 20 Nov 2021 and then for five weekend sessions for learning and deliberation. The final session (weekend six), was held in-person, in Madrid. 76 members travelled to Madrid to participate in person and 18 members participated online. The Assembly had two phases: learning (sessions 1 and 2) and; reflection and deliberation (sessions 2-6). The assembly worked across five areas of life (perspectives) in groups of 20: consumption; food systems and land use; work; community, health and care; and ecosystems.
Facilitation. Table facilitation. 20 citizens worked on each area of life, working on tables of groups of 10. Catalan translation provided in Zoom chat for one participant. Facilitators provided technical support so that members of the assembly could participate fully.
Technology. Online video-conferencing software (Zoom), collaborative digital tools (Groupmap, Mural, Jamboard, Miro) and other supporting digital tools (Survey Monkey). Participants given training and technical support. Digital platform based on the open software Decidim available to members between sessions, which included information provided during the session, draft recommendations forums for debate launched by members, surveys and a blog.
Evidence base. IGE advised on knowledge management in the assembly (content and potential speakers). Wider network of experts to support Assembly established by the Ministry. Most evidence provided through pre-recorded videos followed by Q&As. Members could request additional information. Participants learned about: climate scenarios; impacts of climate change on human and natural systems; the concept of vulnerability and global and just transition; measures for climate change mitigation; and strategies for adaptation and risk reduction to climate change. Learning was linked to the five areas of life (perspectives): consumption; food systems and land use; work; community, health and care; and ecosystems.
Developing recommendations. Members developed recommendations acrossfive areas of life: consumption; food and land use; work; community, health and care; and ecosystems. 20 citizens in each area, working in groups of 10 to develop recommendations and then sharing and clustering back in groups of 20. Decidem allowed recommendations to be shared and commented on across the assembly. At one point, groups were mixed to exchange insights across areas of life and to cluster and merge recommendations. General advice was provided by a political science expert on how best to articulate recommendations for the administration.
Decision-making. Approval of 172 recommendations by voting took place on the last assembly meeting (weekend 6), which took place in Madrid. Decision-making method debated and adopted in sessions 3 and 4. Assembly agreed simple majority voting, with amendment that recommendations that where 30% abstentions, proposal has to reach at least 66% of Yes votes to be approved.
Final report. A document detailing 172 recommendations approved by the assembly was formally handed to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the third Vice President and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera on 6 June 2022. A more comprehensive report including design and development information will be published in Fall 2022.
Communication. The Communication Team was responsible for traditional and social media communications and web page design and updates. It coordinated relations between members and the media after the last session of the Assembly: members decided to maintain confidentiality until after voting in the final session.Videos of the sessions are available on the assembly website. Blogs written by the participants, experts and members of the coordination group are published on the website. The Assembly voted 12 members to be representatives of the Assembly until July 2022: 2 per area of life, plus 2 cross-cutting. These members have engaged with government, media and stakeholders with support of the Coordination Panel and the facilitation and communication team.
Public engagement. To broaden engagement on the selection of themes to be addressed by the assembly, the public were invited to contribute via a survey that was open between 23 Nov and 10 Dec 2021. The results of the survey (1,458 submissions) are published on the assembly website: https://asambleaciudadanadelcambioclimatico.es/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Consulta-ciudadana-web-final.pdf
Oversight of official response. The Coordination Panel is continuing its work until the end of December 2022, along with a small team that includes members of the facilitation and communication team to support activities, including oversight by members.
Impact. Government is mapping recommendations against current policy, but has to date not communicated to participants and broader public. Initial skepticism amongst some NGOs before Assembly, but since then Big 5 environmental NGOs made public statements in support of the Assembly process and its recommendations. Assembly awarded Extraordinary Prize for the environment by Ministry of Ecological Transition.
Evaluation. Process evaluations by the participants were performed during the process. An independent expert evaluation is pending.
Budget. The assembly was funded by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenges. Specific funding from foundations such as the European Climate Foundation to support the Coordination Panel.
The Austrian Citizens’ Climate Assembly
Purpose. The Klimarat was organized in response to one of the demands of a citizens’ initiative on climate protection (Klimavolksbegehren) which collected 380,000 signatures (required threshold 100,000 for parliamentary debate) between 2018 and 2020. In March 2021 a parliamentary resolution handed over responsibility for organization of a climate assembly to the Ministry of Climate Action.
Commissioning. The Assembly was commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, on behalf of the Austrian Parliament
Task. To propose measures to reach climate neutrality in Austria by 2040
Commitment to respond. No formal mechanisms for response in the resolution. At the launch of the Assembly the Minister committed to replying, but no details of how that would take place were given.
Governance. The formal decision-making body for the Assembly was a core team made up of the facilitation delivery consortium, two coordinators of the Scientific Board, the public relations agency, civil society engagement officers and a public official from the Ministry. Day-to-day decisions were made by the facilitation consortium, working closely with the Scientific Board which provided guidance on the format, balance and accuracy of evidence. The Scientific Board constituted 15 climate experts from across different disciplines. A Stakeholder Advisory Board involved representatives of different social partnerships, including the Chamber of Commerce, agriculture, labour unions, climate and social justice NGOs, youth and Klimavolksbegehren, the organization that led the original citizens’ initiative. The Stakeholder Advisory Board was updated by the delivery team after every weekend.
Delivery bodies. The delivery consortium responsible for design and facilitation comprised ÖGUT, pulswerk and PlanSinn. Locki and Keck contracted to deliver public relations strategy and website. Two civil society engagement officers appointed, funded by the European Climate Foundation, to undertake more extensive engagement with stakeholders.
Participant recruitment. Statistics Austria (national statistics agency) recruited 100participants and 20 reserves by random stratified sampling through a two-stage civic lottery. Criteria applied: age, gender, education, urban/rural, region, income-level, citizenship (Austrian, EU and non-EU – participants had to have lived in Austria for five years). The non-EU category was the only one not filled. Reserves were used only for the first weekend. At the end of the process, 88 members were active, of whom 83 participated in the final vote.
Duration. Six in-person weekends between January and June 2022 in (alternately) Vienna and Salzburg.
Structure. The first weekend introduced the assembly process and basic information on the climate crisis and climate protection. Five themes introduced in weekend 2 which became the basis for workstreams that developed proposals: mobility; housing; energy; production and consumption food and land use. Two transversal themes also identified – global responsibility and social justice – which were considered by all workstreams and were the specific focus of weekend 5. In weekend 4, the Assembly engaged with social partners (members of the Stakeholder Advisory Board) and politicians. The social partners were invited to write impulse papers on any of the seven topics which were sent to participants and the engagement involved two rounds of dialogue groups. Politicians from all five parliamentary parties presented and took questions. Final decision making took place in weekend 6.
Facilitation. Table facilitation with working groups of between 8-11 participants. Facilitator and assistant (for documentation) always present. Dynamic facilitation was tested briefly. Sign language translation available.
Technology. Internal space on website to share documentation and videos. Slack online space created but not used much. Members self-organised in WhatsApp groups, typically based on regions.
Evidence base. Scientific Board provided advice on provision of evidence. Board produced fact sheets on the 5 main topic areas. Two experts from Board responsible for each topic area: required to produce joint keynotes, to provide feedback on members questions and bring in additional experts when needed. Expert leads did not propose specific measures but rather identified 4 to 5 leverage points for each area which were used by members to brainstorm ideas. Presentations pre-recorded for each of the topics. All evidence sessions available on YouTube.
Developing recommendations. Recommendations developed in 10 working groups (two per workstream). Members of the Scientific Board available to answer questions during development of recommendations. Proposals exchanged in plenary sessions within workstreams. Marketplace created most weekends so that proposals could be shared across Assembly members using a template designed by facilitators. Allowed members to identify synergies and duplication. Before and during weekend 5, members provided feedback on the proposed recommendations from each working group. Scientific Board reviewed and provided feedback on all recommendations, including issues that may have been overlooked. Working groups free to incorporate feedback before finalizing recommendations.
Decision-making. Consensus required from within each workstream for a recommendation to progress. One person could block a recommendation which happened in a small number of cases (e.g., proposed speed limits on highways). Each recommendation that passed this threshold considered by whole assembly. Any recommendation was allowed up to 9 reservations (small or major concerns). All recommendations passed. Objections documented in the report.
Final report. Assembly approved 93 recommendations, 10 of which were general recommendations, with the rest clustered in the 5 topic areas. Recommendations presented to the government on 4 July 2022. Each recommendation accompanied by a rationale: a description of the measure, potential positive effects and how to avoid possible negative side effects.
Communication. A public relations team – Locki and Keck – contracted to ensure publicity and transparency. Organised press conference at start and end of process. In contact with journalists throughout the process and a specific hour for journalists to be present at each weekend. Participants put in contact with media early in process. PR team also responsible for website which published a summary of the Assembly’s work after each weekend. Two civil society engagement officers led more in-depth communication with interested parties (e.g., regional government climate and energy managers, climate NGOs and activists, etc.), distributing a newsletter after every session. Officers continuing their work until end of 2022.
Public engagement. Online consultation using the Pol.is platform between weekends 4 and 5. Public able to rate 100 statements by Assembly and able to add own ideas. Around 6,000 people participated. Results given to members to consider. Public webinar organized twice involving participants and facilitation team.
Oversight of official response. Members formed Association of the First Austrian Citizens’ Climate Assembly to monitor government response and to spread knowledge on climate crisis and their recommendations. Civil society engagement officers supporting the Association which is open to supporting members.
Impact. Too early to judge policy impact. Articles in major newspapers after each weekend. PR agency put particular focus on regional and local media. Final results widely reported across different media formats. ORF (Austrian national TV channel) produced 4 short (15 minute) documentaries following members. 25 mayors provided support to assembly which helped local media engagement. Pol.is consultation generated media attention, including from the most popular radio station. Following the publication of the Assembly’s final report, a spontaneous rally in support of the climate assembly organised by Fridays for the Future. Klimavolksbegehren, F4F and XR established an “alliance for councils”, organising an online petition to put pressure on government to fully consider the recommendations.
Evaluation. Scientific evaluators from two institutions – Research Lab Democracy and Society in Transition and Institute for Forest, Environmental and Resource Policy. Funded 50/50 by European Climate Foundation and Ministry.
Budget. Total available budget €2m – half for delivery of assembly (e.g., facilitation, travel and hotels); half for communication.
Further details. Introductory video
German Citizens’ Assembly on Climate (Bügerrat klima)
Purpose. To encourage more ambitious and effective climate policy to realise Germany’s commitment to the Paris Agreement (limiting the global rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees) by presenting the results to politicians during the 2021 federal election campaign, government coalition negotiations and the formation of the parliament.
Commissioning. BürgerBegehren Klimaschutz (BBK, Citizens’ Climate Protection Initiative) with Scientists for Future, Germany. Patron is the former German President Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler.
Task. The Bürgerrat Klima was tasked with making recommendations for how Germany can fulfill its contribution to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement (limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees, and if possible, to 1.5 degrees), with due consideration to social, economic, and environmental factors.
Commitment to respond. No formal link to the political process. The Assembly was timed to influence pre-election public debate, positioning of parties and coalition negotiations following federal elections.
Governance. Scientific Board of Advisors, Civil Society Advisory Board.
Delivery bodies. Ifok GmbH, the Institute for Participatory Design (IPG) and the nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research
Participant recruitment. 160 members recruited through civic lottery by phone, subsequent self-registration and further sortition procedures. Criteria: age, gender, level of education, place of residence (state), size of community, migration background and position on climate change. Hardware, software and training provided. Honorarium of €450.
Duration. Twelve meetings between April 26 and June 23, 2021: 8 mid-week evenings (3 hours), 4 Saturday meetings (8 hours).
Structure. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire assembly took place online with the participants logging on from home. In the first three sessions, the full assembly familiarised itself with the topic of climate change and the individual themes to be discussed: mobility, buildings and heating, energy production, food production (meat, milk). Members were randomly divided into 4 theme groups to develop guiding principles and recommend policy measures. Overarching topics such as instruments of transformation and socially-balanced CO2 pricing were also considered. The assembly ended with plenary votes on recommendations.
Facilitation. Active table facilitation.
Technology. Zoom. Howspace platform to house information, exchange ideas and document results. Mural to develop recommendations. A studio with a stage setting, camera and sound was used whenever the entire assembly was addressed.
Evidence base. The Scientific Board selected four areas for the focus of deliberations: mobility, buildings and heating, energy production, food production.
Developing recommendations. Recommendations developed in workstreams in small groups. At various points, the workstreams presented proposals to the plenary to ensure constant exchange of ideas. The recommendations were evaluated by the Scientific Board of advisors and feedback was received from participants in other working groups, and, if necessary, were adjusted accordingly.
Decision-making. Plenary votes on recommendations.
Final report. A summary of the recommendations (in German) was released on June 24 2021 at a press conference – see an English commentary here. The final report was published in Autumn 2021; the English version is available here
Communication. The commissioning organisation, BBK, was responsible for the communication. The website provides basic information and was updated following individual meetings. Parts of the meetings were live-streamed, some recordings are posted on Assembly YouTube Channel. To broaden engagement within civic society and to support the communication work, including contact with politicians, BBK established a ‘support network’ of 86 organizations, from a wide range of sectors. Lobbying and public relations activities are ongoing.
Oversight of official response. BBK, assisted by the participants and supporting NGOs. After the election in September, the Support Network ensured that the results of the Citizens’ Climate Assembly were considered during the negotiations for a new governing coalition.
Impact. Positive response from political parties and individual politicians during the election campaign. The coalition treaty reflects many recommendations but leaves open many relevant issues addressed by the Assembly. Lobbying and public relations activities led by BBK continue.
Evaluation. No official evaluation was commissioned. A post-hoc evaluation will be organised based on inputs from the various observers and organizers of the process.
Budget. €1.9m for the work of the delivery bodies. The budget is covered by donations and funding from foundations, including, the Schöpflin Foundation, Open Society Foundations, GLS Treuhand and the German Postcode Lottery Foundation. This does not include communication undertaken by BBK and other NGOs during and after the assembly process, for which fundraising is ongoing.
Further resources. Video of KNOCA’s learning call on the German Citizens’ Assembly on Climate
Jersey’s Citizens’ Assembly on climate change
Purpose. In 2019, the States Assembly in Jersey declared a climate emergency and proposed a “people-powered approach”, recognising the value in a whole-island response. The Minister for the Environment presented the Carbon Neutral Strategy, which was formally adopted by the States Assembly on 26 February 2020. A key aspect of the long-term climate action plan was convening a citizens’ assembly on climate change to explore key issues related to climate change and to discuss and make recommendations on “the nature and pace of Jersey’s transition to carbon neutrality”.
Commissioning. States Assembly.
Task. “How should we work together to become carbon neutral?” The mandate provides that the citizens’ assembly should consider: (a) the implications and trade-offs of a range of scenarios for achieving carbon neutrality; (b) when and how a full transition to zero (or almost zero) emissions in key sectors might be achieved.
Commitment to respond. Jersey’s Carbon Neutral Strategy commits the Government’s Council of Ministers to: debate the recommendations in the States Assembly; consider the recommendations in Jersey’s long-term climate action plan; and to publish a response to the recommendations stating which recommendations are accepted and how they will be implemented. Where recommendations are not accepted and implemented, the Government must provide a clearand reasoned justification.
Governance. Chair Convenor, Expert Advisory Panel. Policy team from government administration
Delivery bodies. Involve, New Citizenship (design and facilitation), Sortition Foundation (recruitment)
Participant recruitment. The Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change comprised 45 citizens selected by civic lottery. In the first stage, an invitation to register an interest in taking part in the assembly was sent to 9,000 randomly selected households. Anyone aged 16 or over, who lived at the address and who was eligible to vote could apply. In the second stage, criteria of age, gender, country of birth, tenure and views on climate change were applied for final random selection of assembly members.
Duration. 15 virtual meetings between March and May 2021. Each of the sessions lasted around two and a half hours.
Structure. The assembly was organised in four blocks:
Block 1 – An introduction to the climate change issues facing Jersey and our emissions
Block 2 – The contribution of transport to Jersey’s emissions
Block 3 – The impact of heating, cooling, cooking on Jersey’s emissions
Block 4 – Agree recommendations, including preferred policy changes
The assembly was not broken into thematic groups – the whole assembly considered both transport and energy use in turn. The assembly also considered sustainable finance and offsets.
Facilitation. Active table facilitation
Technology. Virtual assembly meetings held via Zoom. Technical assistance and equipment, where required, was provided by a support team. A Google resource area hosted background documents, materials, and outputs from the sessions.
Evidence base. Video presentations followed by Q&A sessions with speakers. Background factsheets containing additional information. The expert advisory group and policy team decided to focus the assembly on the topics of transport and domestic energy use, because they are recognised as two significant domestic contributors to climate change. They also provided suggestions for which speakers the assembly would hear from, and reviewed the information provided to members.
Developing recommendations. Recommendations on transport and domestic energy use were developed following the same process. Having considered evidence from speakers and from the broader “Climate Conversation” (see “Communication” below), members brainstormed ideas. These were collated by facilitators into seven themes that were agreed by members. Members broke into groups for each theme to develop recommendations. As the recommendations were refined, the groups were given opportunities to review and contribute to the other themes. The seven recommendations from the transport and domestic energy use themes were placed on the virtual resource site, so they could be reviewed between sessions. The whole assembly worked on high level recommendations on sustainable finance.
Decision-making. Members voted to rank the seven recommendations from the transport and domestic energy use themes, in order of priority. Members also voted on the date Jersey should be carbon neutral from 5 choices between 2030 and 2050 and agreed on emissions reductions for transport, domestic energy, and total on-Island emissions (versus offsetting).
Final report. The final report was presented to the States Assembly on 1st June 2021 by the Minister for the Environment. The report was written by civil servants capturing the recommendations and explaining assembly design and process.
Communication. In the six-week period in the run up to the start of the Citizens’ Assembly, the Government of Jersey ran a public conversation on climate change – the ‘Climate Conversation’ – in which members of the public were encouraged to provide their views and ideas on action that Jersey should take in response to the climate emergency. The summary of all the ideas submitted was provided to the members of the Citizens’ Assembly and discussed when the recommendations were considered. The ‘Climate Conversation was accompanied by publicity on mainstream and social media to stimulate interest and public debate in the Assembly and its recommendations. The Chair Convenor was particularly active. The organisers were careful not to identify members of the Citizens’ Assembly in the publicity.
Oversight of official response. The chair convenor continues to advocate for the Assembly and its recommendations.
Impact. Too early to say. Positive impact on members who were originally highly cynical of the process.
Evaluation. No independent evaluation commissioned.
Denmark’s Climate Assembly (Borgerting på klimaområdet)
Purpose. To inform the process of transition in Denmark and specifically the annual Climate Action Plan process. The Assembly was organised in two phases to contribute to two planning cycles and to experiment with different approaches.
Commissioning. Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities.
Specific task. To contribute and provide recommendations to the political process of climate transition, with particular focus on topics relevant to the citizens (as chosen by participants).
Commitment to respond. Commitment from relevant Minister and parliamentary committee to respond.
Governance. Planning group consisting of facilitators from Danish Board of Technology (DBT), a lead civil servant and 5 members randomly selected from the Assembly. Ministry appointed a professional panel of experts to ensure quality and professional balance in the content and evidence provided
Delivery bodies. DBT (design and facilitation). National Agency on Statistics (recruitment).
Participant recruitment. For first phase, 99 citizens were selected according to socio-demographic criteria (age, gender, education, geography), with 99 substitutes. Several members dropped out when process moved from face-to-face to online; 83 started the first phase and 59 completed. For second phase, again 99 citizens were selected, with one third from the first phase; 83 started the second phase; 68 completed. Members paid per diem for attendance of meetings. Members lacking computer equipment were lent equipment and ad hoc ICT training provided.
Duration. Phase 1 ran from 24 October 2020 to 21 March 2021, comprising full weekends at start and end (whole assembly) with three evening meetings in between (in groups), plus adhoc editing meetings when requested. Phase 2 ran from 23 October to 15 December 2021, comprising face-to-face weekend meetings at the start and end of the process, with five online evening meetings in between, and a final evening for voting.
Structure. For first phase, during the first weekend, members learnt about climate change and Danish policy, voted on pre-set questions on topical issues (e.g. green taxation, building in landscapes, bio-resources and agriculture) and proposed and voted on subjects to continue working on. Members randomly allocated into 5 themed groups for evening sessions to generate recommendations on: financing and taxes; agriculture and bioresources; transportation; behaviour, public participation and public education; technology and landscape. Members provided feedback on each other’s draft recommendations. DBT and two external experts provided feedback on the draft recommendations before the final meeting. Final editing and voting on the recommendations took place in the final weekend. The second phase was even more bottom-up, with members selecting topics without expert input. Evening meetings arranged around these issues, including aspects of behaviour change, education, consumption, energy price crisis and energy transition, with presentations from experts and brainstorming ideas. Final weekend focused on writing and editing text. Further evening for voting.
Facilitation. Members largely managed their own group dynamics. If required, lead facilitators intervened to break deadlocks (rare).
Evidence base. Expert presentations at the start of the first weekend in phase one and for each thematic group for both phases. Further input was provided when requested by members or suggested by the planning group. 48 experts in total in phase one.
Developing recommendations. Recommendations were drafted through consensus by members in themed sub-groups. Opportunities for feedback and editing by members of other groups were provided. Two external experts, with experience in energy modelling and public administration, and DBT provided feedback before the members prepared their final recommendations.
Decision-making. Members voted on each of the thematic chapters and on each recommendation.
Final report. A report containing 19 thematic chapters with 117 recommendations from the first phase of the assembly was delivered to the Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities and the Danish Parliament’s Committee on Climate, Energy and Utilities on 29 April 2021. Each section contains observations, assessment and then recommendations of the assembly members, describing the motivation behind the recommendations. The report for the second phase will be delivered on 23 January 2022.
Communication. The Assembly website provides details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results, as well as videos of witness presentations. All sessions were open for researchers to observe. Limited media interest.
Oversight of official response. The phased structure of the Assembly means that members can comment on earlier official responses. The potential for the Assembly to continue into 2022 is under discussion.
Impact. Official response to first report from the Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities on 25 June 2021. Following parliamentary question, government committed to treating the Assembly as an additional “climate partnership” (a formal relationship with major sectors) which requires a full report on the status of the recommendations. Ministers considering whether to make the Assemnly a permanent element of the Danish climate planning process. Some evidence that scepticism and distrust towards Assembly amongst politicians has lessened.
Evaluation. University researchers, working independently, followed the process. Participants’ evaluation of the first phase published.
Budget. Originally 150K Danish Kroner (€20.2K) for DBT to create programme and facilitation with other functions taken on by Ministry. DBT budget increased to 550K Kroner (€74K) to manage the whole process. DBT willing to cross-subsidise the Assembly to ensure quality and proof of concept.
Finland’s Citizens’ jury on climate actions
Purpose. To gather the informed views of citizens on the fairness and impact of potential, controversial measures to be included in the new medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan that are perceived to be particularly relevant to citizens (e.g. emission reduction measures concerning housing, mobility and food).
Commissioning. Ministry of the Environment and the Climate Policy Round Table.
Task. Assess the fairness and impact of 14 potential measures to be included in the medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan.
Commitment to respond. The Jury’s statement was presented to the Climate Policy Round Table in May. Otherwise, no official response, but expectation that Jury considerations will be included in climate plan.
Governance. Academics from the University of Turku associated with PALO (Participation in Long-Term Decision Making) and FACTOR (Facing Systemic Change Together) research projects.
Delivery bodies. As above.
Participant recruitment. Members recruited through two-stage civic lottery. First, 8,000 invitations were sent to randomly selected Finnish citizens (N.B. delays due to problems with postal services). From a pool of 174 volunteers, 50 Jury members were selected randomly using following criteria: age, gender, place of residence and level of education. Of those selected, 37 citizens confirmed participation, and 33 took part from the beginning to the end. Paid honorarium of €150.
Duration. The jury met 3 times on 22, 24 and 25 April 2021.
Structure. Consultations and surveys commissioned by Ministry isolated the most controversial climate policy issues that directly affect consumers. Jury asked to consider 14 related policy proposals and produce a statement commenting on each action. The jurors were introduced to the each topic and formulated questions for the experts. The jurors then deliberated in 5 small groups, engaging in an iterative process of drafting text for a declaration on the fairness and impact of each climate action, which was then passed on to next group to review and redraft. Experts commented on draft statements as part of review process. The whole Jury discussed and voted on controversial parts of the statement where consensus was not achieved. Finally, the jury voted to adopt the statement. Structure of the Jury influenced by the Citizens’ Initiative Review format.
Facilitation. Small groups facilitated by two moderators to ensure fairness in participation, completion of tasks and to take notes of discussion. Joint sessions with the whole Jury were guided and recorded by three moderators.
Technology. Zoom, Googledocs.
Evidence base. Evidence provided by representatives of the Ministry of Environment and researchers from universities and research institutes.
Developing recommendations. Jurors drafted recommendations in small groups with active support from note-takers. Recommendations were reviewed, discussed, and redrafted by other groups. Feedback was provided by experts. The statement was agreed in plenary and adopted by majority vote.
Decision-making. Where unanimity was not achieved for particular recommendations, votes were held with simple majority voting. A vote was held on the final full statement – 30 voted for the statement, two cast a blank vote and one was absent. Individual members had the opportunity to express their dissenting opinion on the statement which are available on the project website and published in Annex 1 of the final report.
Final report. A statement authored by the Jury members was published on 25 April. The statement presents the Jury’s assessment of impact and fairness of the proposed measures and proposals for new and supplementary measures. A final report, written by researchers leading the project, was published in August 2021.
Communication. Background material provided to the Jury is available on the website. Recordings of the presentations by experts were available on the website for two weeks. Some media interest, especially from motoring organisations, but not as much as expected as the news cycle was dominated by a government crisis.
Oversight of official response. Members have no role in oversight.
Impact. The extent to which the Jury’s statement informed the preparation of Finland’s Climate Change Policy Plan is unclear.
Evaluation. University researchers conducted a survey of participants at the end of the Jury; the results were published in the final report.
Budget. €20K from Ministry of the Environment. Subsidised by PALO and FACTOR research projects.
Further resources. Video of KNOCA’s learning call on Finland’s Citizens’ Jury on Climate Actions.
Scotland’s Climate Assembly
Purpose. To inform government decision-making on the climate crisis in line with Scotland’s Climate Change Act (2019).
Commissioning. Scottish Government.
Task. “How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?” [Note that the question was decided by the Stewarding Group through a facilitated deliberation process.]
Commitment to respond. The Scottish Government was legally required to respond to the final report within six months.
Governance. Secretariat (seconded civil servants), two independent Conveners, Stewarding Group (stakeholders and participation experts), Evidence Group.
Delivery bodies. Involve and Democratic Society (design and facilitation leads), Sortition Foundation (recruitment).
Participant recruitment. 105 members selected randomly using a postal civic lottery, applying the following criteria: age, gender, household income, ethnicity, geography, rurality, disability, and attitude towards climate change. All residents over 16 were eligible. 7 replacements were added before the second weekend and 102 citizens completed the final weekend. Members paid an honorarium and where necessary given hardware/software and training to support online engagement.
Duration. Seven weekends between November 2020 and March 2021. The seventh weekend was added after Assembly members requested additional time for learning and deliberations. The assembly was designed to take place online.
Structure. In weekends 1 and 2, the whole assembly learned about the science and ethics of climate change, Scotland’s contribution to climate change and adaptation, and considered future scenarios. In weekends 3, 4 and 5, the members divided randomly into 3 workstreams – Diet and Lifestyle; Homes and Communities; Work and Travel. In workstreams, members received evidence from and questioned experts and advocates, considered key challenges, and drafted recommendations. During weekends 6 and 7, the full assembly shared and reviewed the workstream recommendations, drafted and agreed a collective Statement of Ambition, developed supporting declarations for each recommendation, and voted on recommendations. The Assembly reconvened for a weekend in February 2022 to consider the Government’s response to their report.
Facilitation. Small group facilitation to ensure fairness in participation and completion of tasks.
Technology. Zoom, Jamboard, Googledocs (mainly used by table facilitators), Surveymonkey (voting).
Evidence base. The Evidence Group oversaw the learning journey for the Assembly, ensuring that the Assembly was presented with diverse views on climate change, the degree of change necessary to tackle the climate emergency, and alternative approaches to achieving that change. Over 100 expert speakers provided evidence through video, question and answer sessions and in breakout room discussions. The Evidence Group undertook a technical review of initial proposals from the workstreams and final review of draft recommendations.
Developing recommendations. Members drafted recommendations in their workstreams through an iterative process of discussion, consolidation and review and consideration of fairness propositions. Those recommendations prioritised through this process were discussed, reviewed, and redrafted by the full assembly to ensure consistency. The whole assembly drafted a Statement of Ambition and high-level goals.
Decision-making. Members voted asynchronously on high level goals between Weekends 6 and 7 and on each recommendation (agree, disagree, abstain) after Weekend 7.
Final report. The final report was tabled in the Scottish Parliament on 23 June 2021 by the Secretariat, following the Interim Report on 24th March 2021.
Communication. The Assembly website provides extensive details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results. All presentations and question-and-answer sessions were made available on the website immediately after the session. Observers and media had access to the materials as they were shown to the Assembly and the option to join a one-hour session immediately after each Assembly weekend to hear about the weekend from speakers and organisers and ask questions on content and process. A pre-engagement exercise in October 2020 allowed the public to make suggestions on an online platform on what the Assembly should discuss, who should speak and how Scotland can reach net-zero targets. The Children’s Parliament ran an integrated programme with over 100 children in ten schools across Scotland, with comments from young people integrated into the final report. Some media coverage of assembly during the process and the publication of the reports.
Oversight of official response. The Assembly reconvened in February 2022 to review the government’s response to its recommendations (see below), publishing its Statement of Response. Secretariat actively promoting recommendations of the Assembly amongst public bodies and other stakeholders.
Impact. The Scottish Government published its response on 16 December 2021, which addressed all 81 recommendations made by the Assembly.
Evaluation. An extensive evaluation led by university and government researchers included in budget of Assembly. Research data briefings for weekends 1, 4 and 7 are published on the assembly website. Final research report to be published in 2022.
Budget. The full cost of the Assembly was covered by Scottish Government. An indicative budget of £1.4 million was set; full details of final spend are yet to be released.
Further resources. Video of KNOCA’s learning call on Scotland’s Climate Assembly
Climate Assembly UK (CAUK)
Purpose. To inform parliamentary scrutiny of government policy.
Commissioning. Six parliamentary select committees: Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS); Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government, Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury.
Task. How the UK can meet the Government’s legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The commissioning select committees set several more specific questions related to particular policy areas.
Commitment to respond. Parliamentary select committees committed to use recommendations and findings to inform future inquiries and scrutiny activities.
Governance. Regular meetings were held between the delivery team and officials in parliament. The Advisory Board and Academic Panel oversaw the assembly content.
Delivery bodies. Involve (lead design and facilitation), four Expert Leads, Sortition Foundation (recruitment), mySociety (website). The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) supported with stakeholder engagement. Select committee officials supported political engagement and led on communications. The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit provided support on communications outreach (not part of the contract).
Participant recruitment. 110 members were selected randomly using a civic lottery applying the following criteria: age, gender, ethnicity, education, geography, urban/rural, attitude to climate change. 108 members took part in the assembly. The members were paid an honorarium of £150 per weekend, given training when the assembly went online, and paid for necessary support to attend, e.g. costs for childcare, carers.
Duration. 25 January to 17 May 2020. The assembly was originally designed to run for four weekend sessions between January and March 2020, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, the last weekend was moved online and spread over 3 shorter online sessions during May and June 2020.
Structure. In the first weekend, the assembly learned about the science and ethics of climate change and developed a series of guiding principles. In weekends 2 and 3, the assembly was split into three themed workstreams: how we travel; in the home; what we buy, land use, food and farming. During the online sessions the whole assembly considered where electricity comes from, greenhouse gas removal and the impact of Covid-19.
Facilitation. Small group facilitation to ensure fairness in participation and completion of tasks.
Evidence base. Full assembly heard evidence on climate science, net zero target, overarching ethical questions about path to net zero. The Expert Leads created alternative scenarios for what net zero UK could look like (futures) and how UK can get there (policy options). Expert witnesses provided evidence through live presentations or videos (when online), and were available for questioning.
Developing recommendations. The members considered the future scenarios created by the Expert Leads and compared these against the guiding principles they had developed. Some additional recommendations were added by the participants.
Decision-making. Members considered and voted on a list of policy options proposed by the expert leads. Only the members who worked on specific workstreams voted on the recommendations in those areas. Where the whole assembly worked together on recommendations, all members of CAUK voted on them.
Final report. The 556-page final report, written by the lead delivery body and published on 10 September 2020, presents a statement from assembly members and more than 50 recommendations and the level of support for each of the policy options. This is complemented with verbatim quotes to understand the reasons why members supported or opposed measures. A summary report of 31-pages was also published. An interim report was published on 23 June 2020 on Covid-19 recovery and path to net zero ahead of government announcements.
Communication. The CAUK website provides extensive details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results. All presentations and question-and-answer sessions were streamed live and are available on website (including transcriptions). Observers and media were able to attend CAUK sessions but could not interact with the participants. The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) organised a series of briefings for different stakeholders during the process and following release of report. There was a strong social media presence, including dedicated Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Oversight of official response. Members have no role in oversight. The delivery organisation, Involve, secured additional funding to help ensure assembly’s impact.
Impact. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee launched an inquiry into CAUK’s recommendations. Its report, Climate Assembly UK: Where are we now?, published in July 2021, is critical of the lack of government response to the assembly’s recommendations. The government provided a limited response to the Committee. Other committees have launched inquiries on aspects of government policy informed by the recommendations of CAUK. All six of the commissioning committee chairs wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and opposition leader to urge them to consider the assembly’s recommendations. Secondary impacts include the integration of recommendations into the Sixth Carbon Budget of the Climate Change Committee. Evidence of impact on assembly members, includes behaviour change. There was fairly extensive media coverage on the first weekend, especially around the attendance of Sir David Attenborough, and on day of the release of the report. A documentary film was shown on BBC on 30 November 2021.
Evaluation. The official Evaluation of Climate Assembly UK, undertaken by academic researchers, was published in July 2021, assessing the deliberative quality of the assembly and the relationship between CAUK and parliament, climate policy, the media, and the public.
Budget. Total budget £520,000. £120,000 from the House of Commons, and £200,000 each from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the European Climate Foundation’s UK programme. An extra £40,000 was provided by the two foundations to mitigate impact of Covid-19.
Resources. Video of KNOCA’s learning call on the UK and French Climate Assemblies. A report by CAST reviews the design and deliberations of CAUK and members’ wider perceptions of climate change, comparing findings with the French Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC). The team leading the official evaluation have published an article on lessons from CAUK. A documentary on members of CAUK has been aired on BBC. We invite you to consult our Bibliography on Climate Assemblies for further resources.
France Citizens’ Convention on the Climate (La Convention Citoyenne pour Le Climat)
Website. Convention: https://www.conventioncitoyennepourleclimat.fr/
Purpose. To submit laws, regulations and referendums on climate action to the President and Parliament.
Commissioning. President Macron announced the Convention. Formally constituted by the Prime Minister, through an official mission letter to the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC).
Task. To define measures for France to achieve a cut in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, in a spirit of social justice.
Commitment to respond. President Macron announced the Convention. Formally constituted by the Prime Minister, through an official mission letter to the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC).
Governance. A Governance Committee comprising 15 representatives of government, think tanks, unions, business and experts in climate science, policy, and democracy. The Committee was joined for each meeting by two citizens randomly drawn from the Convention. Three independent Guarantors tasked with ensuring the Convention’s independence and good working conditions.
Delivery bodies. Missions Publiques, Res Publica (facilitators). Expert Support Group provided technical advice. Legislative Committee provided legislative transcription support.
Technology. Zoom. Jenparle platform (to house information, exchange ideas and document results). Decidim platform (external contributions). Provote system (voting).
Participant recruitment. Quota sampling undertaken from a pool of 300,000 randomly generated phone numbers, using the following selection criteria: age (as of 16 years-old), gender, education level, geographic origin, settlement (urban versus rural) and employment. The selection and participation of two members in very precarious situations was organized by the association Les Petits Frères des Pauvres. A pool of 190 citizens selected with the aim of ensuring at least 150 citizens attended sessions. 104 citizens participated in all sessions. Members received the same compensation as for jury service (around €84 per day).
Duration. Originally scheduled for six two-and-a-half-day weekend sessions from October 2019 to February 2020. However, a national public transport strike and then Covid-19 delayed sessions and the members requested a seventh session. Two interim sessions were held online; and the final session, with social distancing measures, was held in June 2020. Additional weekend session organised online in February 2021 to review government and parliamentary response.
Structure. Combined plenary sessions and thematic sessions in smaller groups. During the first weekend, the Convention heard from experts on the science of climate change. Members were then randomly assigned to 5 thematic groups defined by the Governance Committee: housing (Se loger), labor and production (Travailler et produire), transport (Se déplacer), food (Se nourrir), and consumption (Consommer). Each thematic group heard from and questioned experts, deliberated and developed recommendations in small groups. A transversal workstream on finance and governance was created for two sessions but was suspended due to tensions generated amongst other members of the Convention. During the final weekend, the Convention voted on proposals, in plenary.
Facilitation. Self-organised within workstreams, lightly overseen by facilitators.
Evidence base. Evidence base. Expert witnesses presented to the plenary and thematic groups. The Governance Committee mostly selected the expert witnesses, at times responding to requests from Convention members. The Expert Support Group was not established until third session).
Developing recommendations. Recommendations were developed within small working groups within thematic workstreams, and in plenary for cross-cutting issues (e.g., finance and governance). The Expert Support Group worked closely with members to develop recommendations. The Legislative Committee drafted legal transcripts of the proposals to ensure legal appropriateness, but Convention members had the final say as to the integration of the transcripts in their final report. During two dedicated sessions, proposals could be reviewed by members working on other themes with amendments adopted asynchronously through online votes before the final session. Final proposals required support from two thirds of the members of each working group to be considered by the full assembly.
Decision-making. Simple majority voting. 149 draft laws, regulations and three referendums were agreed.
Final report. The 460-page report containing 149 measures was adopted on 21 June 2020. A summary of proposals in English is available. An interim communication was issued on 9 April 2020 on Covid-19 and climate change. At the same time, members shared a third of their proposals with the government ahead of voting as they identified them as key for the national recovery plan.
Communication. The Convention’s website provides details of organisation and results. Some plenary sessions and group hearings were broadcast on YouTube or podcasts. Observers and media were able to attend sessions. Strong social media presence, including dedicated Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as live commentary on the sessions by a Twitch influencer. Access was granted to several film crews and led to a number of films/reportages broadcasted on TV channels (see further resources). Extensive media coverage of the Convention, especially after some proposals were leaked to the media in April 2020, around its final session and in response to the official reception of the report by Macron. Media reporting remained high on the debates about the presidential and parliamentary response.
Oversight of official response. An additional session of the Convention was organised online in February 2021 to review government and parliamentary response; the Convention published its verdict on 2 March 2021. Les 150, L’Association des Citoyens de la Convention Climat, a non-profit organisation established by members, continues to monitor progress of measures.
Impact. In an official address held at the Elysée Palace a week after the final session, President Macron committed to supporting 146 of the 149 proposed measures. The Climate and Resilience Bill adopted by parliament in 2021 translates a number of the measures into law – many in a modified form following changes made by the government in the draft bill and then further revisions by Parliament. The referendum proposal (to modify article 1 of the Constitution) was blocked by the French parliament. The Convention stimulated broad public debate on climate transition as well as what Macron meant by an “unfiltered” response to the proposals. Knowledge of the Convention is high amongst the broader population. Several mayors have committed to implement relevant measures. Several members of the Convention have become high profile figures on social and traditional media, some even ran in regional and local elections.
Evaluation. Around 40 accredited researchers were given access to the Convention.
Budget. The original budget of €4.5 million was covered by the French State through the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC). Final total costs were €5.4 million.
Further resources. Video of KNOCA’s learning call on the UK and French Climate Assemblies. A group of researchers published a study that compares the opinions of the randomly drawn citizens with those of the general population, while polling institute Elabe assessed (in FR only) the support for the proposals among the French population. The climate-focused think tank IDDRI published an analysis of these proposals. Public Senat TV channel produced a 30-minutes reportage (in FR only) presenting the work of the CCC, while LCP TV co-produced a 50mn documentary on the “afterlife” of participants once the Convention had ended. Arte broadcasted a documentary film (with EN subs) capturing behind-the-scene moments and testimonies from participants. We invite you to consult our Bibliography on Climate Assemblies for further resources.
Ireland’s Citizens Assembly
Purpose. To inform government policy on climate change following consideration of recommendations by both Houses of Parliament (the Oireachtas)
Commissioning. The coalition government committed to a citizens’ assembly as part of its partnership programme. The Citizens’ Assembly’s terms of reference were agreed by the Houses of the Oireachtas in July 2016. Climate change was one of 5 areas considered by the Assembly.
Task. How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.
Commitment to respond. Parliament committed to consider the recommendations of the assembly through a joint committee of both Houses and to bring its conclusions to the Houses for debate.
Governance. Independent Chair (retired supreme judge), Secretariat (seconded civil servants), Steering Group (the Chair and a representative group of Assembly Members elected by the wider Assembly), and Expert Advisory Group.
Delivery bodies. The Secretariat and Chair led the process. The Expert Advisory Group designed the process and selected witnesses with oversight from the Steering Group. RED C Research and Marketing Ltd were commissioned to recruit members and Roomaxx Ltd to provide facilitation and note-taking.
Participant recruitment. 99 members, along with 99 “substitute” members, were recruited through random door-to-door contact. There were 53 replacements during the lifetime of the 18-month assembly. Members were recruited using the following criteria: gender, age, location, and social class. Members were not paid an honorarium.
Duration. The assembly worked on the topic of climate change over 2 weekends between 30 September and 5 November 2017. In total, the assembly met over 12 weekends between 15 October 2016 and 15 April 2018 on a range of other topics, including the constitutional status of abortion.
Structure. The Assembly heard presentations from experts and civil society and advocacy groups about the science of climate change and its impacts, and about the largest sources of emissions in Ireland: the energy sector, agriculture, and transport. The members participated in question-and-answer sessions and took part in round table discussions to consider evidence. During the second weekend, the members agreed the wording of the ballot paper (drafted by the Expert Advisory Group). [Note: the assembly did not break into sub-groups to consider particular topics]
Facilitation. Small table facilitation to ensure fairness in participation and completion of tasks.
Evidence base. Prior to the start of the assembly, members were provided with background information documents. Presentations from experts and civil society and advocacy groups and summaries of 1,185 written submissions from members of the public. The members contributed to the selection of evidence: at the end of the preceding topic on the impact of an ageing population,the assembly was asked to consider what content they wanted to be included for the climate change weekends.
Developing recommendations. Ideas were generated through round table discussions and then collated into proposals on a draft ballot paper, which was refined in an interative process between the members and the Expert Advisory Group.
Decision-making. Decisions were made by majority voting; the assembly members voted by secret ballot on 13 recommendations. The 13 recommendations received support of 80-100%.
Final report. A report presenting the 13 recommendations and more detailed explanations was presented to Parliament on 18 April 2018.
Communication. The Citizens’ Assembly website provides extensive details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results. All presentations and question-and-answer sessions were streamed live. Observers and media were able to attend assembly sessions. The media coverage of the assembly tended to focus on the more high-profile issue of abortion.
Oversight of official response. Members had no oversight role. Chair advocated for Assembly recommendations.
Impact. The report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA) generally supported the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations, with the exception of its proposal to introduce a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Its deliberations led to the declaration of a climate emergency by the Dáil (Lower House). The JOCCA report heavily influenced the cross-government Climate Action Plan published in June 2019 and the subsequent Climate Action Bill 2020.
Evaluation. Evaluation led by university researchers.
Budget. The total budget for the Citizens’ Assembly was €1,505,960.90. The specific cost of its work on climate change has not been calculated.