UK citizens assembly to discuss how to meet 2050 climate target
22nd January 2020 | Commercial Energy
From health workers to engineers and teenagers to grandparents, 110 Britons will join a citizens’ assembly on climate change this weekend to discuss how the country can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Britain became the first major economy to enshrine a net zero target into law last year – a move implying rapid transformation in sectors from energy and transport to food, farming and housing.
Lawmakers first announced they would hold a citizens’ assembly last year in response to growing public unease over the climate crisis. Ranging in age from 16 to 79, participants will meet in the city of Birmingham over four weekends from January to March to consider how Britain can best meet the 2050 target. Although Climate Assembly UK will have no independent power, lawmakers have said its deliberations will inform broader discussions.
Members will hear from a range of experts to help them consider issues such as how people heat their homes, what they buy and how they travel. Their recommendations will be published in a report to parliament in April. Britain saw a surge in climate activism last year with civil disobedience movement Extinction Rebellion occupying sites in central London, blocking roads and targeting financial institutions and government buildings.
Extinction Rebellion welcomes the chance for the public to have a say, but said the assembly was “toothless” as the government would be free to ignore its recommendations. “That is obviously a massive worry,” said spokeswoman Marijin van de Geer. She called for Britain to cut carbon emissions to net zero earlier, by 2025, warning that the 2050 target amounted to a “death sentence” for the planet.
Temperatures have already risen by more than one degree Celsius since pre-industrial times and government commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, even if achieved, would bring warming of more than 3 degrees Celsius.
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