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:
German Citizens’ Assemly 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 federal election campaign and before formation of the next parliament and government in September 2021.
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 is tasked with making recommendations for Germany within the legally applicable provisions of the Paris Climate Protection Agreement (well below 2°C, recommended; 1.5°C if possible) to ensure compliance with the obligations of the climate agreement to achieve the greatest possible effect on climate protection in Germany and other countries in the world. Questions of social, economic and ecological compatibility should be taken into account.
Commitment to respond. No initial formal link to the political process. The Assembly is timed to influence pre-election public debate, positioning of parties and coalition negotiations following federal elections.
Governance. Scientific Board, Civil Society Advisory Board
Delivery bodies. ifok, IPG and nexus-Institut
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 Euros 450.
Duration. Twelve meetings between April 26 and June 23, 2021: 8 Wednesday evenings (3 hours), 4 Saturday meetings (8 hours)
Structure. Because of the 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 by the assembly: 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 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, communicatem exchange ideas and document results. Mural to develop recommendations. A studio with a stage setting, camera, 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. Feedback from Scientific Advisory Board was given twice during the assembly with respect to estimated effects on reducing emissions.
Decision making. Plenary votes on recommendations.
Communication. BBK is responsible for the communication. The Website provides basic information, 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, BBK invited more than 80 German NGOs to support the communication work, including contact with politicians.
Oversight of official response. BBK, assisted by the participants and supporting NGOs.
Impact. Too early to say.
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. Euro 1.9m for the work of the delivery bodies. The budget is covered by three Foundations. This does not include communication undertaken by BBK and other NGOs during and after the assembly process, for which fundraising is ongoing.
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, 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. Government and States Assembly have committed to debate and respond to recommendations. The Assembly Report states: “Where politicians judge that different decisions should be taken those differences should be fully explained and justified.”
Governance. Chair Convenor, Expert Advisory Panel. Policy team from government administration
Delivery bodies. Involve, New Citizenship (design and facilitation), Sortition Foundation (recruitment)
Participant recruitment. Assembly of 45 citizens. 9,000 households randomly sent an invitation to be on the Citizens’ Assembly. Anyone aged 16 or over, who lived at the address and who was eligible to vote could apply. Quotas applied for final selection of assembly members: age, country of birth, gender, geography, tenure, climate change attitude.
Duration. 15 virtual meetings between March and May 2021. Each of the sessions lasted around two and a half hours.
Structure. Assembly 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. Zoom, with a full support team providing tech assistance and equipment where required. Google resource area hosted background documents and materials and outputs from the sessions.
Evidence base. Video presentations and Q&A sessions with speakers. Background factsheets containing additional information. Expert advisory group and policy team decided focus on transport and domestic energy use (two significant domestic contributors to climate change), provided suggestions for speakers and reviewed information provided to members.
Developing recommendations. Transport and energy use followed 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 to develop recommendations for each theme, with part of the membership of the group changing in order to review work and provide new insights. Recommendations placed on resource site so could be reviewed between sessions. Whole assembly worked on high level recommendations on sustainable finance.
Decision making. Members prioritised the recommendations in the two sectors and agreed the date Jersey should be carbon neutral through a supplementary voting process. Agreed guidance on levels of carbon emissions (versus offsetting) to ensure neutrality.
Final report. Report presented to the States Assembly on 1st June 2021 by the Minister for the Environment. Report written by civil servants capturing recommendations by citizens 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 at www.climateconversation.je. This material is available to view at https://comment.gov.je/. The summary of all the ideas submitted by the public were provided to the members of the Citizens’ Assembly and were discussed when the recommendations were considered. Ongoing media interest and public debate in the Assembly and its recommendations, with Chair Convenor particularly active. Organisers careful not to identify members of the Citizens’ Assembly.
Oversight of official response. Chair convenor continues to advocate for the Assembly and its recommendations.
Impact. Too early to say. Clearly impact on members who were originally highly cynical of the process.
Evaluation. No independent evaluation commissioned.
Budget. GBP 250k
Denmark’s climate assembly (Borgerting på klimaområdet)
Purpose. To inform the process of transition in Denmark and specifically the annual Climate Action Plan process.
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 close to the citizen.
Commitment to respond. Commitment from the relevant Minister and parliamentary committee to respond.
Governance. Planning group consisting of facilitators from Danish Board of Technology (DBT), lead civil servant and 5 citizens randomly selected from the Assembly. Expert panel.
Delivery bodies. DBT (lead). National Agency on Statistics (recruitment).
Participant recruitment. 99 members selected according to socio-demographic criteria (age, gender, education, geography), with 99 substitutes. When process moved from face-to-face to online, a number of members dropped out. 83 started the process; 59 completed. Per diem was paid for attendance of meetings. Members lacking computer equipment were lent equipment. Ad hoc ICT training.
Duration. Phase 1 ran from 24 October – 29 April 2021. Full weekends at start and end (whole assembly); one evening meeting for each thematic workstream. Ad hoc extra evening meetings when editing groups requested. Two evenings for discussion of draft recommendations (whole assembly). Phase 2 in Autumn 2021.
Structure. First weekend – learning about climate change and Danish policy, votes on pre-set questions on politically topical issues (e.g. green taxation, building in landscape, bio-resources and agriculture) and brainstorm to generate thematic areas. Members randomly allocated to 5 themes to generate recommendations: financing and taxes; agriculture and bioresources; transportation; behaviour, public participation and public education; technology and landscape. Feedback on draft recommendations from other members and “challengers” (see “developing recommendations”). Final editing and voting in last weekend.
Facilitation. Small editing groups meetings in the thematic workstreams self-facilitated. Intervention from lead facilitators to break deadlock (rare).
Evidence base. Expert input to first weekend and the start of each thematic group. Further input when requested by members or suggested by planning group. 48 experts in total.
Developing recommendations. Recommendations drafted through consensus by members in sub-groups of thematic workstreams. Opportunity for feedback and editing by other members. Two “challengers” with expertise in energy modelling and public administration provided feedback and DBT commented on consistency across recommendations.
Decision making. Members voted on each of the 19 thematic chapter and on each recommendation.
Final report. Report containing 19 thematic chapters with 117 recommendations in total published on 29 April 2021. Each section contains observations, assessment and then recommendations of the assembly members, ensuring that the motivation behind the recommendations is clear. Shorter report from first weekend on three current issues: green taxes; biomass and land use; and lifestyle
Communication. Assembly website provides extensive details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results. Videos of witness presentations. All sessions were open for researchers as observers. Parliamentary launch of the report. Limited media interest.
Oversight of official response. Phase 2 may include consideration of government response. The potential for the Assembly to continue into 2022 is under discussion.
Impact. Recommendations to feed into annual climate action planning process. Too early to judge impact. Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Climate committed to producing a “communication” on Assembly report.
Evaluation. A number of university researchers, working independently, followed the process.
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 contribute 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 new medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan
Commitment to respond. The jury’s statement was presented for the Climate Policy Round Table in May. Otherwise no official response, but expectation that jury considerations will be included in climate plan.
Governance. Academics associated with PALO (Participation in Long-Term Decision Making) and FACTOR (Facing Systemic Change Together) project teams, led by University of Turku
Delivery bodies. As above
Participant recruitment. Members recruited through two-stage civic lottery. 8,000 invitations sent to randomly selected Finnish citizens (N.B. delays due to problems with postal services). From pool of volunteers, Jury members selected randomly using following criteria: age, gender, place of residence and level of education. 37 confirmed participation; 33 took part from the beginning to the end. Paid honorarium of €150.
Duration. 2.5 days over 22 and 24–25 April
Consultations and surveys commissioned by Ministry isolated the most controversial climate policy issues that directly affected consumers. Jury asked to consider 14 related policy proposals. Jury followed modified Citizens’ Initiative Review format. Jury introduced to issues, formulated questions and then held expert hearings. Citizens deliberated in 5 smaller groups, engaging in an iterative process of drafting text that was 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.
Facilitation. Small group facilitation. Active facilitation to ensure fairness in participation and completion of tasks. Note taker to support drafting.
Technology. Zoom, Googledocs.
Evidence base. Evidence provided by representatives of the Ministry of Environment, university and research institutes.
Developing recommendations. Jury drafted recommendations in small groups with active support from note-taker. Recommendations considered and redrafted by other groups. Feedback from experts. Statement agreed in plenary.
Where unanimity was not achieved for particular recommendations, votes were held with simple majority vote. Vote on final full statement – 30 voted for the statement, two cast a blank vote and one was absent. The statement is the joint opinion of the Jury. Individual members had the opportunity to express their dissenting opinion on the statement which are available on the project website and published as a part of the final report
Final report. Statement authored by Jury members 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. Final report written by researchers leading the project to be published in June 2021.
Communication. Recordings of the presentations by experts and materials provided to the Jury are available on the website. Observers mostly from environmental institutes, the Ministry and the Round Table. Some media interest, especially around motoring organisations, but not as much expected as news cycle dominated by government crisis
Oversight of official response. Members have no role in oversight.
Impact. The Jury’s statement was be discussed at the Climate Policy Roundtable (stakeholder body) on 3 May, and the outcome of its work will be utilised in the preparation of the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan. The draft plan should be ready in summer 2021.
Evaluation. University researchers are undertaking evaluation as a part of the final report, mostly based on participants’ evaluations measured after deliberation.
Budget. €20K from Ministry of the Environment. Subsidised by PALO and FACTOR research projects.
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 is legally required to respond to the final report within six months.
Governance. Secretariat (seconded civil servants), Two 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, attitude towards climate change. All residents over 16 eligible. 7 replacements added before second weekend. 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, full assembly learned about the science and ethics of climate change, Scotland’s contribution to climate change and adaptation and considered future scenarios. Agreed fairness propositions. Before breaking into 3 workstreams – Diet and Lifestyle; Homes and Communities; Work and Travel – all members introduced to each theme and tasked each stream with considering key issues. Weekends 3 to 5, members randomly allocated to the three streams to learn more, deliberate and draft recommendations. Weekends 6 and 7, full assembly shared and reviewed recommendations, drafted and agreed a collective Statement of Ambition, developed supporting declarations for each recommendation and voted on recommendations.
Facilitation. Small table facilitation. Active facilitation to ensure fairness in participation and completion of tasks.
Technology. Zoom, Jamboard, Googledocs (mainly used by table facilitators), Surveymonkey (voting).
Evidence base. 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. Witnesses provided evidence through video, question and answer sessions and in breakout room discussions. Evidence Group undertook technical review of initial proposals from workstreams and final review of draft recommendations.
Developing recommendations. Members drafted recommendations in their streams 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. Full assembly drafted 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 24th june 2021 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 called Dialogue on what the Assembly should discuss, who should speak and how Scotland can reach net-zero targets. Children’s Parliament ran an integrated programme with over 100 children in ten schools across Scotland. Some media coverage of assembly during the process and around interim report.
Oversight of official response. Members have no role in oversight. Secretariat actively promoting recommendations of the Assembly.
Impact. Final report has yet to be published.
Evaluation. An extensive evaluation led by university and government researchers included in budget of Assembly. Research data briefings for weekends 1, 4 and 7 made public.
Budget. Full cost of the Assembly covered by Scottish Government. Indicative budget of £1.4 million, full details yet to be released.
France Citizens’ convention on the climate (La Convention Citoyenne Pour Le Climat)
Website. Convention: https://www.conventioncitoyennepourleclimat.fr/
Proposals of the Convention: https://propositions.conventioncitoyennepourleclimat.fr/
Summary of proposals in English: https://www.conventioncitoyennepourleclimat.fr/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/062020-CCC-propositions-synthese-EN.pdf
Purpose. To submit laws, regulations and referendums on climate action to the President and Parliament.
Commissioning. President Macron
Task. How can France cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, in a spirit of social justice?
Commitment to respond. Macron committed to bring laws, regulations and referendums drafted by Convention “unfiltered” to the appropriate body.
Governance. Governance Committee comprising 15 representatives of government, think tanks, unions, business and experts in climate science, policy and democracy. Joined for each meeting by two citizens randomly drawn the CCC. Three independent Guarantors.
Delivery bodies. Missions Publiques, Res Publica (facilitators). Scientific expert group. Legal expert group.
Participant recruitment. Quota sampling from pool of 300,000 randomly generated phone numbers. Criteria: age, gender, education level, geographic origin, settlement (urban versus rural) and employment. Pool of 190 citizens to ensure at least 150 citizens in each session. 104 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, October 2019 to February 2020. National public transport strike and then Covid-19 delayed sessions. Members requested seventh session. Two interim sessions held online; final session with social distancing measures in June 2020.
Structure. Combined plenary sessions and thematic sessions in smaller groups. First weekend heard from experts on science of climate change. Members 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. Final weekend, plenary votes on proposals.
Facilitation. Self-organisation within workstreams lightly overseen by facilitators.
Evidence base. Governance Committee mostly selected witnesses (expert lead group not established until third session). Members could request witnesses. Experts presented to plenary and thematic groups. Some experts worked closely with members to develop recommendations. Legal group redrafted proposals to ensure legal appropriateness of proposals.
Developing recommendations. Recommendations developed within small groups within thematic workstreams, apart from cross-cutting issues (e.g. finance and governance) which were developed in plenary. Members often worked closely with scientific experts in drafting proposals. Redrafting proposed by legal experts with final say from members. Two sessions where proposals could be reviewed by citizens working on other themes. Final proposals required support from 20 citizens to be considered by the full assembly.
Decision making. Simple majority voting. 149 draft laws, regulations and three referendums agreed.
Final report. 460-page report containing 149 measures. Interim communication on Covid-19 and climate change in which members shared a third of the proposals ahead of the votes as they identified them as key for the national recovery plan.
Communication. CCC websites provides details of organisation and results. Some plenary sessions and group hearings broadcast on YouTube or podcasts. Observers and media able to attend sessions. Extensive media coverage of the Convention, especially the official reception of the report by Macron, its proposed measures and ongoing debates about presidential and parliamentary response. Some members involved in government workshops to discuss implementation of their measures.
Oversight of official response. An additional session of the Convention organised online in February 2021 to review government and parliamentary response. Convention published its negative verdict. 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 currently being debated by parliament will translate a number of the measures (many in a modified state) into law. CCC stimulated broad public debate on climate transition – knowledge of the CCC is high amongst the broader population – as well as what Macron meant by an “unfiltered” response to the proposals. A number of mayors have committed to implement relevant measures. A number of members of the Convention have become high profile figures on social and traditional media, some even ran in regional and local elections.
Evaluation. 35 accredited researchers were given access to the CCC.
Budget. Original budget €4.5 million. Final total costs €5.5 million.
Climate Assembly UK (CAUK)
Purpose. To inform parliamentary scrutiny of government policy
Commissioning. Six parliamentary select committees
Task. How can the UK reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050? A number of more specific questions related to specific policy areas provided by select committees.
Commitment to respond. Parliamentary select committees committed to use recommendations and findings to inform future inquiries and scrutiny activities
Governance. Regular meetings between delivery team and officials in parliament. Advisory board and academic panel oversaw assembly content.
Delivery bodies. Involve (lead), four expert leads, Sortition Foundation (recruitment), mySociety (website). Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) supported with stakeholder engagement. Select committee officials supported political engagement and led on communications. Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit provided support on communications outreach (not part of the contract).
Participant recruitment. 110 members selected randomly using a civic lottery using the following criteria: age, gender, ethnicity, education, geography, urban/rural, attitude to climate change. 108 members took part in the assembly. Members paid an honorarium £150 per weekend and given training when assembly went online. Paid for necessary support to attend, e.g. childcare, carers.
Duration. 4 months (25 Jan – 17 May 2020). 3 in-person weekends and 3 shorter online weekend sessions because of Covid-19.
Structure. Full assembly learned about the science and ethics of climate change and developed a number of guiding principles. Three workstreams: how we travel; in the home; what we buy, and land use, food and farming. Full assembly consideration of where electricity comes from, greenhouse gas removals and the Covid context.
Facilitation. Small table facilitation. Active 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. 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. Members considered the scenarios created by the expert leads and compared these against the guiding principles they had developed. Some additional recommendations added by participants,
Decision making. Members considered and voted on list of policy options. 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. Accessible summary report of 31-pages summarising recommendations. 556-page final report written by the lead delivery body that 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. Interim report in June 2020 on Covid-19 recovery and path to net zero ahead of government announcements.
Communication. CAUK website provides extensive details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results. All presentations and question-and-answer sessions streamed live and now available on website (including transcriptions). Observers and media able to attend CAUK sessions. ECIU organised a series of briefings for different stakeholders during the process and following release of report. Social media presence.
Oversight of official response. Members have no role in oversight. Involve secured additional funding to help ensure assembly’s impact.
Impact. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the findings of the CAUK. Other committees have launched inquiries on aspects of government policy informed by the recommendations of CAUK. Committee chairs wrote to PM and opposition leader. Secondary impacts include the integration of recommendations into the Sixth Carbon Budget of the Climate Change Committee. Evidence of impact on assembly members, including behaviour change. Fairly extensive media coverage on the first weekend and on day of the release of the report. Some during event and ongoing. Documentary film released. Raised profile of deliberative democracy.
Evaluation. An evaluation led by university researchers to be published in June 2021 focusing on assembly process and some areas of impact on parliament, government and assembly members. Other researchers working on deliberative democracy and climate change also given access.
Budget. GBP 520,000. £120,000 from the House of Commons, £200,000 each from the
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the European Climate Foundation’s UK programme. Extra £40K from the two foundations to mitigate impact of Covid-19.
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.
Governance. Independent chair (retired supreme judge), secretariat (seconded civil servants), steering committee and expert advisory group.
Delivery bodies. The secretariat and chair led the process, with expert advisory committee designed the process and selecting witnesses and oversight from steering group. RED C Research and Marketing Ltd were commissioned to recruit members; Roomaxx Ltd to provide facilitation and note-taking.
Participant recruitment. 99 members, along with 99 “substitute” members, recruited through random door-to-door contact. 55 replacements during the lifetime of the 18-month assembly. Members recruited using the following criteria: gender, age, location and social class. Members were not paid an honorarium.
Duration. The assembly worked on climate change over 2 weekends (30 September – 5 November 2017). The assembly met over 12 weekends between 15 October 2016 and 15 April 2018.
Structure. Full assembly heard presentations from experts and civil society and advocacy groups, considered submissions from members of the public, participated in question-and-answer sessions and took part in round table discussions to consider evidence. Expert advisory group drafted ballot which was then adjusted by members. [Note the assembly did not break into sub-groups to consider particular topics]
Facilitation. Small table facilitation. Active facilitation to ensure fairness in participation and completion of tasks.
Evidence base. Presentations from experts and civil society and advocacy groups; 1,185 written submissions from members of the public.
Developing recommendations. Ideas generated through round table discussions. Collated into proposals on draft ballot paper by Expert Advisory Group. Ballot revised by members.
Decision making. Assembly members voted by secret ballot on 13 recommendations.
Final report. 13 recommendations with degree of support (80-100%)
Communication. Citizens’ Assembly website provides extensive details of organisation, presentations, written briefings and results. All presentations and question-and-answer sessions streamed live. Observers and media able to attend assembly sessions. Media coverage of the assembly tended to focus on the more high-profile issue of abortion.
Oversight of official response. Members have no role in oversight.
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, and 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.