Citizens’ climate assemblies

Britain and France have asked citizens to develop ideas and recommendations for future climate policies. These ‘citizens’ climate assemblies’ are rapidly becoming a useful tool for governments to get buy-in for the difficult policymaking of the Social-Ecological Transition.

The French ‘Citizens’ Convention for climate’ (Convention citoyennne pour le climat) consisted of 150 citizens chosen from a pool of randomly selected citizens. Such a group was asked to formulate proposals to reduce French emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40 % compared to 1990, in a spirit of social justice. The Citizens’ Convention presented  149 recommendations for President Macron on 21 June 2020.

Similarly, the British’ Climate Assembly UK (108 chosen citizens from all walks of life) presented its report for a path to net-zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050 on September 10th. A concise overview of the history of this UK assembly and the recommendations of the report are available via the Carbon Brief website.

EU annual Strategic Foresight Report: resilience as anchor for new EU policies

In the beginning of September, the Commission presented its first annual Strategic Foresight Report in an effort to “integrate strategic foresight into EU policy-making”. The report refers to “first lessons from the Covid-19 crisis” and introduces “resilience as a new compass for EU policy-making”. The report focuses on the need for social and economic, geo-political, green and digital resilience.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomed the Commission’s Foresight report but highlighted the need for “new policies consistently contributing to a fairer and more inclusive society”. The ETUC also underlined the need for a “shift from the current GDP-based narrative of measuring progress towards a more well-being centred one”.

Business Europe however had a different take on the report  and focused on the Better Regulation dimension. The employers’  organization stressed the need for completing the Single Market, developing a smart and modern industrial policy, defending free trade and making better regulation "fit for the future".