Paul Allen talks Zero Carbon Britain at the first ever ‘Climate Emergency People’s Assembly’

Paul Allen talks Zero Carbon Britain at the first ever ‘Climate Emergency People’s Assembly’


Home » Paul Allen talks Zero Carbon Britain at the first ever ‘Climate Emergency People’s Assembly’

What radical action is needed to avert the climate crisis?

Initiated by Extinction Rebellion, sponsored by Welsh Assembly Members Jenny Rathbone (Labour) and Llyr Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru), and held in the Welsh Assembly Senedd foyer, the Climate Emergency People’s Assembly set out to explore the role for direct civic engagement in developing priorities that are both fair and effective in rapidly reducing Wales’ carbon emissions.

Paul Allen went along to take part in the discussions and share CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research. 

On 4th July, I was honoured to be invited to present evidence from CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research to the first ever Climate Emergency People’s Assembly.

People's Assembly in the Welsh Government’s Senedd Foyer

Composed of around 50 volunteers from across mid and south Wales, the ‘People’s Assembly’ set out to prototype and explore how this process could support Welsh Government in raising ambition across society. Their aim was that this ‘test-bed’ would lead to a formal ‘Citizens’ Assembly’, in which participants are selected from across society with a direct and formalised role in decision-making.

Presenting the key findings of Zero Carbon Britain

The event opened with a 30-minute slot where I presented evidence from the key findings of CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research. My key messages were: we have all the technologies we need; this must also embrace changes in land-use; and if we do it in the right way, with the right skills, there are many co-benefits.

My evidence was then cross-examined in a very detailed question and answer session, followed by break-out group discussions exploring the key question: what would be the core components of a fully inclusive climate action planning process?

Group discussions at Welsh People's Assembly
Group discussions

Recommendations

After much discussion and passionate debate, the People’s Assembly proposed that a Climate Emergency Action Plan for Wales should include a clear civic call to ‘get on with it’ and deliver radical action.

It also highlighted the need for a ‘just transition’ that would support workers and businesses currently engaged with fossil fuels to move to new industries.

There was a call for a Wales–wide programme to offer the new skills and education needed, plus a focus on multi-solving to maximise the co-benefits.

There were also calls to build on existing legislation such as the Active Travel and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Acts.

Their final call was for Welsh Government to consider the role of more formal Citizens’ Assemblies to guide the action planning processes. Each member of the People’s Assembly went on to formally lobby their representative in Welsh Government to take up these ideas.

Reporting back to members from the Welsh Assembly

In the afternoon there was a more formal engagement session, where a range of Assembly Members, including the event sponsor Jenny Rathbone, Rebecca Evans, Jane Hutt, Joyce Watson and Jeremy Miles plus Anna McMorrin MP, joined the group. Their input was most uplifting, offering clear support for this new people’s process, and backing the call for a radical climate emergency action plan for Wales.

Watch this space!

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