September 30, 2020

Welcome to Scotland's Climate Assembly

Author
Scotland's Climate Assembly Secretariat

In September 2019, Scotland’s new Climate Change Act hit headlines for introducing some of the most ambitious climate targets in the world.

Included in the Act was an obligation for Scottish Ministers to establish a citizens’ assembly on climate change.

A citizens’ assembly brings together a group of people to learn about, discuss, and deliberate on an issue, and reach conclusions about what they think should happen. Members of the assembly generally reflect the demographics of the wider population, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, attitudes, or other factors. They have been used across the globe, from Australia to right here in Scotland, to tackle complex issues such as abortion, social care funding, and electoral reform.

A UK wide Climate Assembly occurred earlier this year and will publish its recommendations for the UK parliament in September 2020. However, with more ambitious targets than the UK, which aims to reach net-zero by 2050, Scotland needs its own clear roadmap to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. The Assembly offers the chance to put people at the heart of the decision making process. Those who take part will consider how Scotland can reduce its emissions and adapt to climate change that is already occurring, or will likely occur in the future. Their recommendations will be submitted to the Scottish Parliament and Ministers in the form of a report, and within six months Ministers are required to publish a statement outlining how they intend to respond.

Like other assemblies, Scotland’s Climate Assembly has experienced disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is important that conversations on climate change continue, however, public health is a priority and the Secretariat will be following Scottish Government guidance and taking the necessary precautions to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all those involved.

The Secretariat is pleased to report that it is making extensive headway. The contract for the design and facilitation of the Assembly has been jointly awarded to Involve and the Democratic Society, and the member selection contract has gone to the Sortition Foundation. We look forward to working with these organisations to create an assembly that is rewarding to members and will help shape Scotland’s future response to climate change.