UK’s citizens’ climate assembly backs green pandemic recovery and lifestyle shift

23rd June 2020 | Commercial Energy

The UL’s first national citizens’ assembly on climate change has backed changes to the economy and lifestyles that will drive down emissions in the wake of coronavirus. A report shows “striking” agreement within the citizens’ assembly that steps taken by the Government to help the economy recover should also cut greenhouse gases and that green changes to lifestyles should be encouraged.

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six parliamentary select committees and asked to examine how the country meets its legal target to cut greenhouse gases to zero overall by mid-century. More than 100 people, who are representative of the UK population, met to learn about climate change and discuss and make informed decisions on options for meeting the net-zero goal.

Climate Assembly

The assembly was forced to move online to complete its work because of the pandemic and as its final session participants discussed the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown on the net zero target. An interim report into its findings shows 79% of assembly members strongly agreed or agreed that steps taken by the Government to help the economy recover should be designed to help achieve net zero.

Some 93% of those taking part strongly agreed or agreed that as lockdown eases, the Government, employers and others should take steps to encourage lifestyles to change so they are more compatible with net zero. When it came to Government action, assembly members most commonly raised limiting or putting conditions on investment or bailouts to high carbon industries such as oil and gas or the aviation sector. But others felt that bailouts were necessary to protect the economy and ensure people had jobs.

People taking part in the assembly also called for the need to rethink and invest in infrastructure so it met climate fighting goals, flagging up areas such as insulating buildings, offshore wind, e-vehicles and broadband.

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