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University of Sussex professor to advise on UK’s first nationwide citizens’ assembly on climate change

A University of Sussex Business School professor will be among a select number of eminent experts advising on the UK’s first nationwide citizens’ assembly on climate change later this month.

Professor Benjamin K Sovacool will take part in Climate Assembly UK, which will give people a say on how the UK reaches its’ net zero emissions target, when it meets for the first time on Friday 24 January.

The Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) is one of 13 members of the assembly’s Academic Panel which 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.

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.

The policy for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 became law on 27 June 2019, making the UK the first major economy in the world to legislate for net zero.

Prof Sovacool said: “It is a privilege to be included in this process, and vital that a high level of public engagement occur in the whole process if UK is to meet its net zero target in a fairer and more just way.”

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.

As well as the Academic Panel, two other 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;

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.

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By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Friday, 17 January 2020

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