CAST Director to take lead role in citizens assembly on climate change

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, our centre director, is one of four lead experts who will support the design and delivery of the Climate Assembly UK.

Citizens’ assemblies bring together people from all walks of life to discuss important issues. They have been used all around the world, including in the UK, to help shape the work of governments and parliaments.

For the recently announced Climate Assembly UK, 30,000 invitations have been sent out to randomly selected households across the UK and a group of 110 members will be selected to reflect the UK population in terms of a number of factors, such as age, sex, ethnic background and attitudes to climate change. 

The role of an expert lead is to ensure that Climate Assembly UK is:

  • Balanced, accurate and comprehensive in terms of its content on climate change;
  • Focused on the key decisions facing the UK about how to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Professor Whitmarsh is an environmental psychologist, specialising in perceptions and behaviour in relation to climate change, consumption, energy, and transport. 

She said “The Climate Assembly is a really exciting opportunity for the UK public to have their say on how we as a society tackle climate change. We know the public is worried about climate change and wants action to address it.  The Assembly will allow a diverse cross-section of the public to learn more about the issue and to vote on options and policy proposals to address it. I’m delighted to be involved in designing the Assembly to ensure it helps policy-makers and society address the climate emergency.”

Key themes for the Climate Assembly will include how people travel, what people buy, and household energy use. 

The outcomes of discussions will be presented to the six select committees, who will use it as a basis for detailed work on implementing its recommendations. It will also be debated in the House of Commons.

The three other expert leads on the project are: 

  • Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee of Climate Change
  • Jim Watson, Professor of Energy Policy, University College London and Director of the UK Energy Research Centre
  • Rebecca Willis, Professor in Practice, Lancaster University

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