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Citizens Assembly on Climate Change proposed for 2020


Venue/Date: James Cook Hotel, Wellington, 11 November 2019

Media Statement: 18 October 2019

Aotearoa Climate Emergency (ACE), a climate change network, will host a conference in Wellington on 11 November (Armistice Day) to promote holding a Citizens Assembly in 2020, as a way of breaking the current political deadlock on treating climate change as an emergency.

ACE Secretary, Phil Saxby, said the Conference 4 Climate was focussed on the citizens assembly (CA) concept promoted by many Climate Change groups, notably Extinction Rebellion. “It will bring people together to learn, deliberate and make recommendations to act. Members would be randomly selected from the electoral roll and would hear from experts and stakeholders before making recommendations”.

ACE advisor James Renwick says “Parliament is presently making very slow progress over these issues, including the Zero Carbon Bill – the Citizens Assembly approach provides an independent and transparent process that would engage the public in these decisions. Its recommendations would carry moral authority”. Citizens Assembly processes have been used in Canada, Ireland and France.

The conference will feature a panel of MPs, including Scott Simpson (National’s spokesperson on climate change), Chloe Swarbrick (Greens) and Dr Duncan Webb (Labour). The Keynote speaker, by video link, will be Irish political scientist Diarmuid Torney on the Irish CA experience.

ACE hopes that agreement will be reached with the consent of all the major groups supporting Climate Emergency declarations: City Councils, ECO organisations, SS4C and other such groups, Iwi organisations, Pasifika, the CTU and friendly business and farmer groups etc.

“This conference is likely to attract considerable attention, if it decides to promote the world’s second comprehensive* Citizens Assembly on this topic”, says Phil Saxby.

* Ireland’s citizens assembly did a short report on climate change, based on just a few days’ study. France has initiated a Citizens Assembly on Climate this month (October 2019)


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