The Extinction Rebellion movement has three key demands on governments, including to call a Citizen’s Assembly about climate change to decide how things should be done and to keep government on track. Whether or not you are a supporter of XR, the calling of a Citizen’s Assembly is a very positive step,
Our Chair Rachel Berger was very excited the other day on opening a letter from the House of Commons to find an invitation to a citizens’ assembly on How should the UK tackle climate change.
She says – on reading further, it isn’t so exciting: mine is one of 30,000 addresses randomly selected, whose residents are invited to register interest in taking part in this process. From those who respond expressing interest, and committing to the four weekends it will involve, just 100 people will be selected to achieve a group broadly reflecting the make up of the UK population, by age, gender, education level and ethnicity. I will know by 22nd November whether or not I will be one of those chosen.
What is exciting is that this process has been called for by six parliamentary committees:
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Environmental Audit; Science and Technology; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Transport; and the Treasury.
The House of Commons is paying for the process, which will be carried out by three organisations: The Sortition Foundation, mySociety, and The Involve Foundation. All of these are in different ways promoting the involvement of citizens in decision making.
To enable people to take part, all expenses are paid, and advance payments can be made for those who could not otherwise afford travel to the Birmingham venue (a four star hotel). Support for a carer is available if need be for a disabled person to take part. A sum of £150 will be given for each weekend as payment to encourage participation.
The aim of the process is to produce an action plan for achieving net-zero emissions in the UK by 2050 – so, although this is not the right goal for the action plan, it is surely a good start. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will be one of the privileged few to take part.