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Advisory and academic panels working on Climate Assembly UK includes two Bristol researchers

Professor Dale Southerton and Dr Jo House University of Bristol

Press release issued: 9 January 2020

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.

This includes Professor Dale Southerton and Dr Jo House from the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment who are part of a 13-strong academic panel of researchers who are focused on areas of climate change that the assembly will consider.

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.

Dale Southerton, Acting Director of the Cabot Institute and Professor of Consumption and Organisation in the School of Economics, Finance and Management, said: “The University of Bristol was the first university in the UK to declare a climate emergency, where we are leading the way with achieving net zero by 2030.

“This means we can offer advice to the government based on our own carbon-cutting experiences and can also utilise the collective knowledge of our academics at the Cabot Institute for the Environment who are working at the forefront of climate change research.”

Dr Jo House, a reader in Environmental Policy Science and Policy in Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences, added: “This could be one of the most important things I get to do this year.  It’s a great opportunity and responsibility to share knowledge with members of the public given a mandate to influence policy that could result in real change.”

Dr House is also an IPCC Lead author on multiple reports. Both Dr House and Professor Southerton are engaging actively with Bristol City Council on developing their climate strategy through his role on the One City Environmental Sustainability Board and hers as Chair of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change.


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