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Experts comment on findings from the UK’s first Climate Assembly report

Members of the public have given their ideas for policies and action to help combat climate change in a report from the UK’s first Climate Assembly. Dr Keith Hyams from the Department of Politics and International Studies and Dr Jonathan Clarke of the Global Sustainable Development programme at the University of Warwick both see great potential in citizens assemblies in efforts to drive climate action - but would now like to see what recommendations are implemented.

Dr Keith Hyams said: "The climate assembly’s report is an excellent step forward and offers clear guidance to government on the kind of measures that would help to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We now need to see serious action from government to operationalise these recommendations in order to meet internationally binding climate commitments. At the same time, the 2050 target on which the recommendations are based offers only a 50:50 chance of avoiding dangerous climate change over 1.5 degrees of heating. Given the scale of what is at stake, we have a clear moral duty to future generations to show considerably more ambition than this to avert the risk of catastrophic climate impacts."

Dr Jonathan Clarke said: “The findings of the UK’s first Climate Assembly are a very welcome contribution to the nation’s efforts to reach Net Zero, full of well-considered policies and informed ideas for action. The willingness of citizens to make tough choices and put forward measures that politicians have often shied away from will make the headlines, but it is the desire for fairness and to overcome the barriers that individuals face in being more sustainable that I find most heartening. From a political perspective, the assembly might be an expedient way for governments to generate potentially unpopular ideas, in a way that minimises their own responsibility. However, with so many recommendations, there is a risk of some of these findings being lost or ignored. Despite such drawbacks, this report clearly demonstrates that citizens assemblies have significant potential to drive climate action.”

10 September 2020


Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)


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