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Time for citizen action on climate change? A webinar examining the work of the UK Climate Assembly

4 November 2020 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Hosted by Sustainable Northern Ireland, in co-operation with Involve, this webinar will examine the constructive work of the UK Climate Assembly and the resulting recommendations report “The Path to Zero” as well as discussing the prospect of a localised Climate Assembly for Northern Ireland.


In February 2020, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to declare a climate emergency. With briefings from Sarah Allan, Head of Engagement for Involve and Rebecca Willis, Professor in Practice at Lancaster Environment Centre, this webinar will provide local government with information on how a Northern Ireland Climate Assembly could help the devolved Government achieve policy changes and implement initiatives that will help contribute to zero emissions.

The UK government committed to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. In June 2019, six Select Committees of the House of Commons commissioned a UK wide Citizens’ Assembly to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle this commitment, because of the impact these decisions will have on people’s lives

The Climate Assembly UK had 108 members come from all walks of life. Together they are representative of the UK population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, where in the UK they live. Four representatives from Northern Ireland were members of the Climate Assembly. They met 6 times between January and May 2020 and their final report The Path to Net Zero has been published recently detailing recommendations that cover many areas including travel, food, land use, our homes, shopping and consumption, energy generation and use, greenhouse gas removal as well as the impacts of COVID-19 on the path to net zero. The Climate Assembly views local participation and leadership as pivotal in achieving net zero, while recognising that the need for ‘local community engagement embedded in national solutions’ forms one of the underpinning principles.

The work of Climate Assembly UK is designed to strengthen and support the UK’s parliamentary democracy by ensuring politicians and policy makers have the best possible evidence available to them about public preferences on reaching the net zero target. It is hoped that Parliament will use the report to support its work in scrutinising the Government’s climate change policies and progress on the target.

This briefing will cover:

  • An overview of the Climate Assembly from Involve’s Sarah Allan, including membership, structure, oversight, expert contributions, and the deliberative decision-making process that led to the recommendations contained in ‘Path to net zero’
  • An overview of the recommendations from Climate Assembly UK expert lead*, Jim Watson, and their potential implications for national, devolved, and local government
  • Climate Assembly member’s perspective on being part of the assembly

The webinar will be chaired by Nichola Hughes, Director of Sustainable NI.


10:00    Opening Remarks from Chair - Nichola Hughes, Sustainable NI        

10:05    Presentation of short video about the Assembly - Sarah Allan, Involve

10:10    A Climate Assembly member’s perspective on being part of the assembly

10:25    An overview of the Climate Assembly - Sarah Allan, Involve 

10:30    An overview of the recommendations from Climate Assembly – Jim Watson, Professor of Energy Policy and Research Director at the UCL Institute of Sustainable Resources

10:45    Q&A                                                                                   

11:00    Close