One thousand people will be selected at random to reflect the gender, race, age and economic make-up of the global population, organisers said. They will meet online next year to learn about climate change from international experts, before drawing up advice for world leaders ahead of a major UN climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021. Madeleine Cuff explains in an article on the inews website.
Citizens from around the world to form a climate forum to look at cutting carbon emissions
Citizens from around the world will be recruited at random to form a global ‘Climate Assembly’, charged with presenting world leaders with a plan for tackling climate change next year.
It could mean a bus driver from Britain, a sheep farmer from New Zealand and a factory worker from India all working together on the best way to cut global emissions.
One thousand people will be selected at random to reflect the gender, race, age and economic make-up of the global population, organisers said.
They will meet online next year to learn about climate change from international experts, before drawing up advice for world leaders ahead of a major UN climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021.
Smaller assemblies at a local and national level will also be held in the run-up to the summit, known as COP26, with organisers aiming for millions of people to participate in the process.
“We will bring many new, probably previously unheard voices into the Global Assembly,” said Claire Mellier, part of the organising team. “Not all of them are going to agree on the situation we are in, or what we should do next. We will however support careful listening between people so that true respect and understanding emerges. And when this happens we know that new possibilities come to light, that transform what we can do together.”
Gauging public opinion
Citizen’s assemblies are emerging as a popular method of gauging public opinion on tricky topics such as abortion rights and electoral reform. But it is on the topic of climate change where many think they can be most useful, giving politicians a flavour of how radical the public’s appetite for climate action really is.
The UK and France have already held national climate assemblies considering this very issue. UK Assembly Members called for a tax frequent flyers, a ban new gas boilers, and carbon labelling on food and drink products to speed carbon cuts.
A world first
The Global Citizens’ Assembly, which is backed by the UN, will be the first time an in international assembly has been formed. Organisers are hoping its conclusions could spark a breakthrough in international climate talks, which have spent four years bogged down in finalising the ‘rules’ for the Paris climate treaty.
“For too long the international debate on climate has been dominated by powerful minorities,” said Rich Wilson, founder of public participation group Involve. “It’s time for that to end. The Global Citizens’ Assembly is the biggest experiment in global democracy ever attempted. An ambitious endeavor, equivalent to the crisis we face.”
But Mr Wilson says the project needs to raise £100,000 for the project to go ahead, to pay for “logistical and technical challenges”, such as translators for participants, equipment, and even childcare for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to take part.