BEIS Select Committee – Findings of the Report of Climate Assembly UK

Published: 10 May 2021

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee was one of six select committees of the House of Commons (joining Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury) to support Climate Assembly UK, a citizens’ assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions.

Darren Jones, BEIS Committee Chair, welcomed Climate Assembly UK’s final report published in September, in the House of Commons. The Climate Assembly final report set out a clear, internally consistent and timely path for how the UK can reach its legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050. Climate Assembly UK’s report showed how a representative sample of the population believe the UK should meet its net zero emissions commitment with detailed recommendations across ten areas including: how we travel; what we eat and how we use the land; what we buy; heat and energy use in the home; how we generate our electricity; and greenhouse gas removals.

The Committee wishes to monitor and review, on a regular basis, the Government’s engagement and interaction with the findings of the assembly and progress in implementing its proposals.

Key points

Energy Systems Catapult’s has responded to the BEIS Select Committee about the Climate Assembly UK report:

  • Climate Assembly is a great first step as it has helped raise the importance of ensuring that Net Zero works for people, as well as highlighting that citizens are broadly on board with actions being taken.
  • Report must not be misconstrued to suggest that the only or best way to engage with citizens is through deliberative discussion. Climate Assemblies must not be seen as being the end of the conversation with citizens. Policymakers need to ensure a continuous process of engagement with citizens.
  • Government and Parliament should evaluate where the Climate Assembly UK’s recommendations have had an impact on decisions and actions to better inform the design of future initiatives involving the public and ensure their processes and recommendations deliver greater value.
  • Future work must move beyond deliberative approaches to include consumer experiences to ensure policy decisions can be driven by real behaviour on revealed preferences [i.e. Living Lab], allowing markets and communities to reveal over time the path consumers and citizens prefer to take to get to net zero, as opposed to top down prescription.
  • We are pleased to see that Energy Systems Catapult’s Six Steps to Zero Carbon Buildings work aligns with many of the policy recommendations from the Climate Assembly, including our proposal to phase in carbon performance requirements across all buildings (akin to a carbon performance ‘MOT’ for each building).
  • Given the Climate Assembly’s emphasis for support for “Tailored solutions, enabling local authorities and other local organisations to choose solutions suited to their local areas, and householders to pick the options best for them”, the Government should put in place policies that support the rollout of LAEP across the UK.