As the UK’s first citizens’ assembly on climate change prepares to meet for the first time at the end of January, the two panels of stakeholders and researchers helping to ensure the balance and accuracy of the assembly have been announced with representatives of Bristol boards selected to provide leadership and advice.

Lorraine Whitmarsh of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change (BACCC) is one of four expert leads and Jo House, co-chair of BACCC and Dale Southerton, member of Bristol’s ‘One City’ Environmental Sustainability board, are academic Panel members.

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six cross-party House of Commons Select Committees in summer 2019 in response to the Government’s commitment to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Climate Assembly UK will meet for the first time at the end of January and will have three further weekend meetings before the end of March. The 110 assembly members will consider how net zero can be achieved by 2050 and make recommendations on what the Government, businesses, the public and wider UK society should do to reduce carbon emissions.

At each weekend Members will consider a range of climate-focused topics including transport, energy use in the home, agriculture and consumer choices.

An extensive team of climate specialists, business leaders, constitutional and economic experts and civil society organisations are involved in ensuring Climate Assembly UK is balanced, accurate and comprehensive.

Three groups of experts are considering the Assembly in detail:

  • The Expert Leads ensure that Climate Assembly UK upholds the key principles of balance, accuracy and comprehensiveness, and that the assembly focuses on key questions about how to achieve net zero emissions by 2050;
  • The Advisory Panel is made up of key stakeholders with an interest or expertise in the areas of climate change that Climate Assembly UK will examine. The Panel offers feedback to the Expert Leads on key aspects of the assembly’s design, such as who is invited to speak, the topics of discussion, and the balance of information provided;
  • The Academic Panel is made up of researchers working on areas of climate change to be covered by the assembly. The Panel will use its expert knowledge to review written briefings for Assembly members and to support the Expert Leads in their role.

Over the past four months the Expert Leads, Advisory Panel and Academic Panel have been working with the assembly team to develop and consider detailed plans for the design of the assembly and the speakers that will address assembly members. Further consideration will take place in the coming months, and final plans for the assembly will be published in advance of each weekend.

Expert Leads

The four Expert Leads work closely with Involve and Parliament on the design of the assembly and play a key role at the assembly weekends.  They are supported by both the Advisory Panel and the Academic Panel. The Expert Leads were announced on 2 November 2019.

They are all specialists in different approaches to tackling climate change. The Expert Leads are:

  • Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee of Climate Change;
  • Jim Watson, Professor of Energy Policy, University College London and Director of the UK Energy Research Centre;
  • Lorraine Whitmarsh, Professor of Environmental Psychology, University of Cardiff, and Director of the UK Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations;
  • Rebecca Willis, Professor in Practice, Lancaster University, specialising in energy and climate governance.

Advisory Panel

The Expert Leads draw on the knowledge and experience of a panel of key stakeholders to ensure that the assembly’s content on climate change is balanced, accurate and comprehensive. The 19 members on the Advisory Panel offer feedback on key aspects of the assembly’s design including who is invited to give evidence and what they are asked to cover, the questions on which assembly members are asked to give their views, and the written briefings created for assembly members.

The Advisory Panel members are:

  • Fernanda Balata, New Economics Foundation
  • Tanisha Beebee, Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
  • Patrick Begg, National Trust
  • Allen Creedy, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
  • Audrey Gallacher, Energy UK
  • Professor Michael Grubb, University College London (UCL) Institute for Sustainable Resources
  • Eamonn Ives, Centre for Policy Studies
  • Ann Jones, National Federation of Women’s Institutes
  • Ceris Jones, National Farmers Union (NFU)
  • Chaitanya Kumar, Green Alliance
  • Kirsten Leggatt, 2050 Climate Group
  • Matthew Lesh, Adam Smith Institute
  • Nick Molho, Aldersgate Group
  • Luke Murphy, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
  • Tim Page, Trades Union Congress (TUC)
  • Doug Parr, Greenpeace
  • Dr Alan Renwick, Constitution Unit, University College London (UCL)
  • Dhara Vyas, Citizens’ Advice
  • Rebecca Williams, RenewableUK

Academic Panel

The Expert Leads also have the support of a panel of academics whose research is focused on areas of climate change that the assembly will consider. The 13 members of the Academic Panel comment on the written briefings created for assembly members. The Expert Leads have also drawn on the expertise of individual members of the Panel to inform their work on the assembly design.

The Academic Panel members are:

  • Professor Jillian Anable, Professor of Transport and Energy, University of Leeds.
  • Professor John Barrett, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy, University of Leeds.
  • Professor John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy, Queen’s University Belfast.
  • Dr Jason Chilvers, Professor of Environment and Society, University of East Anglia.
  • Professor Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy, University of Oxford.
  • Dr Clair Gough, Senior Research Fellow with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester.
  • Dr Rosie Green, Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Sustainability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
  • Dr Jo House, Reader in Environmental Science and Policy, University of Bristol.
  • Professor Tahseen Jafry, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Management, Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • Professor Carly McLachlan, Professor of Climate and Energy Policy, University of Manchester.
  • Professor Dale Southerton, Professor in Sociology of Consumption and Organisation, University of Bristol.
  • Professor Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex.

Climate Assembly UK will meet for its first weekend on Friday 24 January.