A lot of stock is being put in climate citizens’ assemblies (CAs) to help solve tough political issues. In recent months, two high-profile climate assemblies—in France and the UK—proposed hundreds of measures and recommendations; and more climate assemblies are planned in Germany, Scotland, Spain, and beyond. A big reason for the surge of interest in climate CAs—and other deliberative mini-public fora—is the lack of confidence in, and poor track record of, conventional policymaking in tackling climate change. In fact, CAs and mini-publics are now being pushed as a fix to pretty much every knotty policy issue, whether it’s COVID-19 or democratic failure. But do they work? Will CAs really help address the climate crisis? In short, they could, but assemblies need to help citizens understand the scale and urgency of the challenge, use robust rules and procedures, and create genuine public debates that touch all parts of society. By comparing the respective strengths and weaknesses of the French and UK assemblies, it’s clear that some improvements would increase the chances of achieving results.
Carnegie Europe 5th Nov 2020 read more »
THE Scottish Government has expressed “disappointment” after direct action environmental activists Extinction Rebellion confirmed that it is boycotting its Climate Assembly. The group’s Scottish wing, XR Scotland said it will leave the stewarding group of the assembly as it can “no longer endorse” it as a “good enough” response to the climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion had taken to the streets to demand a national citizens’ assembly with powers to legislate a faster transition to net zero emissions. “XR has worked really hard to make this Assembly a success, but we will not endorse a citizens assembly that has had blinkers put on it and so can’t have the chance to develop a sufficient response to the climate emergency. It is because we see citizens assemblies as so crucial that we cannot endorse one that is not good enough,” it said.
Herald 5th Nov 2020 read more »