MPs invite 30,000 citizens to climate change assembly

Invitation letters will be sent out this Wednesday to thousands of members of the public asking the them to strategise how the UK will reach zero emissions

Participants chosen from businesses and individuals will be asked to join Climate Assembly UK events due to be held next spring. The group was set up by six cross-party House of Commons Select Committees to look at how the UK will reach its net zero emissions climate target, and what can be done by members of the public to help reduce carbon emissions.

The announcement was made just before parliament was dissolved before the 12 December election.

In June this year, following a recommendation by independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK became the first major economy in the world to adopt a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

This means that by 2050 the UK will have to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it produces to a much lower level than today, and balance its remaining emissions by absorbing the same amount from the atmosphere.

Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee said: ‘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.

‘Chosen at random, 30,000 addresses will receive invitations to participate in Climate Assembly UK which will run over four weekends between late January to the middle of March next year in Birmingham. A representative sample of the population will then be selected from those who respond to the invitation, with 110 people taking part in the assembly.’

Mel Stride MP, chair of the treasury committee said: ‘Public concern around climate change is as high as it has ever been and this is a chance for people from all parts of society to come together, to decide how we as a country can best meet our net zero emissions target.

‘Net zero is an opportunity, therefore, for people to not just explore ways in which the UK can end its contribution to climate change, but also create a cleaner, healthier environment as well as benefit from the opportunities around creating a low-carbon economy.’

Key themes to be discussed at Climate Assembly UK 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.

This comes after the London Stock Exchange (LSE) recently tweeted that 74 London issuers with an aggregate market capitalisation of £55bn+ have received LSE’s new Green Economy Mark, recognising that 50%+ of their revenues come from green activities, enrolling them into the LSE Green economy companies list.

Financial reporting

Companies are also under pressure to improve the quality of their climate change disclosures.

The latest Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Financial Reporting Lab report on climate-related corporate reporting highlighted the gap between current reporting and investor expectations and called on companies to prioritise reporting of this increasingly important area.

It also said companies should adopt the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework to report on climate-related issues, rather than using ad hoc reporting approaches.

The lack of consistency in reporting and disclosures, and box ticking approach to the issue, was also flagged in a new report commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and prepared by Big Four auditor PwC, which assessed company views on the value for climate change reporting.

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