Climate Assembly UK: where are we now? Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Public engagement

1.Despite its commitment to engage the public on the key choices to be made on the path to Net Zero, the Government’s initiatives to date, though welcome, are insufficient. The lack of specific plans to engage with those who are no longer in formal education, or those who are disengaged are particularly stark and must be remedied. (Paragraph 20)

2.We agree with the Climate Change Committee and endorse its recommendation that the Government must publish a net zero Public Engagement Strategy, which includes detailed plans for education and engagement during the transition to net zero. We recommend that the Government base the content of the Public Engagement Strategy on the conclusions from the Climate Assembly UK report, and explicitly refer to the Assembly’s recommendations on a topic where relevant. (Paragraph 21)

3.The Public Engagement Strategy should include details of how the Government will work to engage all segments of the public, including those who are no longer in formal education, or those who are disengaged. This should be published as soon as possible, but, at the very latest alongside the long-awaited Net Zero Strategy. (Paragraph 22)

4.Climate Assembly UK has proved that deliberative engagement is important for both building consensus and maintaining public trust in the net zero transition and will facilitate the behavioural change required to underpin a successful transition to net zero. We recommend that the Government, in its Net Zero Strategy, sets out its plans for deliberative engagement on net zero policies through citizens assemblies, citizens juries and other methods. (Paragraph 31)

5.We are disappointed that the Minister has rowed back on the commitment given to us in oral evidence that the Government would provide a comprehensive and point-by-point response to the recommendations in CAUK’s ambitious report. We do not consider the Government’s submission and the Minister’s oral evidence to this Committee as being sufficient in this regard and ask the Minister to honour her commitment to provide a full response. (Paragraph 38)

6.We recommend that the Government publish a comprehensive, point-by-point response to the CAUKs report. This would provide clarity on how the Government has engaged with the report. (Paragraph 39)

7.This point-by-point response to Climate Assembly UK’s recommendations should provide a full assessment of which recommendations will be accepted in full or in part and which will be rejected, along with an explanation for why the recommendation is being rejected. We expect this response to be published before the Assembly’s one-year anniversary in September and as part of the Government’s response to this report. (Paragraph 40)

A fair transition

8.The upcoming Net Zero Review is critical in ensuring fairness across society in the transition to net zero. This should be published as a matter of priority to maximise the time available, both, to consult and engage the public and businesses. We recommend that BEIS work closely with HM Treasury to ensure that the Net Zero Review be published as soon as possible, and at the very latest, alongside the Net Zero Strategy, expected in September. (Paragraph 46)

9.The Government must ensure that the rationale behind the route to net zero is made clear and is transparent. This is key to earning the trust of both business and citizens, which would, in turn incite positive action across the population. We recommend that the Net Zero Strategy include specific timelines for the implementation of specific policies through to 2050 in order to prepare business, supply chains, and citizens for the changes that will come with achieving net zero. Where there is uncertainty in relation to the implementation of future policies, the Government should provide the dates by which decisions must be made. (Paragraph 51)

10.The Government must also re-double its efforts to lead a joined-up approach to net zero with local authorities, business and citizens. Central to this is improved, co-ordinated policymaking across Whitehall. The inadequacy of cross departmental coordination across Whitehall in delivering net zero has been brought into sharp focus in the context of the UK’s Presidency of COP26, and increased focus on and scrutiny of Government policy and activity in the run up to the conference itself in November 2021. Cross-departmental co-ordination will be the focus of our new inquiry into Net Zero Governance. (Paragraph 52)

Published: 8 July 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement