Climate Assembly: Meet the people considering how UK should achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Madeleine Cuff reports on the Climate Assembly, and ideas from meat taxes to free public transport. Citizens have been randomly recruited from all walks of life to reflect the UK’s national make-up by gender, age, race, education, region and attitudes to climate change. i was given exclusive access earlier this month to the assembly’s second meeting, on condition that participants’ surnames were withheld. Among them is Ellie, a 20-year-old graduate from London who is planning to become a teacher, and thinks climate change is an important issue for the UK to tackle. “While I’m not a proactive activist, it is definitely something I have a vested interest in,” she says. Alongside her is Hamish, 48, from Scotland, who worked in the oil and gas industry for 25 years. He had suspected climate scientists of “fudging the figures”, telling i: “I was aware that we were pumping out CO2 into the environment, and that there was a narrative that we were doing lots of damage to global temperatures etc, but I was unconvinced about how much damage that we were actually doing.” Together with their fellow assembly members, Hamish and Ellie are spending four weekends at a hotel in Birmingham considering the challenge of getting the UK to net zero emissions. Their remit is to look at issues from heating homes and transport to the products we buy, helped by climate experts who appear to give evidence and answer questions. Polling data suggests that public concern about climate change is rising among the UK public, but politicians are unsure whether citizens will accept radical measures to address the issue. The idea is that the assembly’s final recommendations, to be published later this year, will give them the courage to consider radical policies such as a tax hike on flying or meat eating or a ban on gas boilers and free public transport.
iNews 21st Feb 2020 read more »