Net Zero Festival: The inside story of the Climate Assembly and what it can teach us

BusinessGreen staff

VIDEO: Professor Rebecca Willis and Involve's Sarah Allan discuss the main takeaways from the UK's first exercise in direct, democratic policymaking

Earlier this year Parliament convened a remarkable and novel exercise in direct democratic decision making, as it sought the views of the British public on how the UK should decarbonise its economy in line with its 2050 net zero emissions target.

And, following a handful of weekend meetings that were later moved online due to Covid-19 lockdown measures, the 100-or-so Climate Assembly UK members chosen as a representative sample of the British public handed its final report to government, which set out clear support for an ambitious but fair transition to net zero, and to accelerate the shift via a green recovery from the pandemic.

Leading a host of climate policy experts providing advice and guidance to the Assembly members was Rebecca Willis, professor in practice at Lancaster Environment Centre, while Sarah Allan, head of engagement at public engagement charity Involve, helped design and oversee the process.

At the world's first Net Zero Festival recently, both spoke to host Lucy Siegle and BusinessGreen editor in chief James Murray about the citizens' assembly process, its findings, and what green businesses and policymakers can learn from the UK's first major exercise in direct, deliberative democracy. The fascinating conversation can be watched in full above.

All of the panel debates, keynote speeches, and presentations from the world's first Net Zero Festival - which took place over three days from 30 September featuring hundreds of top speakers from business, politics and academia - are now available to watch again on demand through the Net Zero Festival website.

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