Citizens' Assembly discuss climate change for the first time


19th March 2021

Jersey’s newly appointed Citizens’ Assembly on climate change has completed the first of four content blocks focused on the convening questions ‘how we should work together, to become carbon neutral’?

Comprising four sessions between 13 to 17 March, the first block, “Onboarding & Orientation”, saw the 45 randomly selected participants introduced to the climate change issues affecting Jersey and the part they will play in Jersey’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality. Following presentations from subject-matter experts (SMEs)* about specific aspects of climate change to members, participants virtually discussed the issues in groups before engaging in Q&A sessions with the expert speakers.

Chair-Convenor of the Citizens’ Assembly, Emelita Robbins, commented: “Over the course of this first block of sessions I was very impressed by the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by everyone involved. There is real strength in how the process works which enables participants to get to grips with the complex issues. The willingness of the participants to come together in their learning created a collective intelligence in the discussions and I am confident that in due course this will lead to informed and credible recommendations.

“With this level of constructive engagement, the process has the potential to influence discussions outside of these sessions so that the debate widens out. There is opportunity for example for those involved in the ‘build back better’ debate to commit to a clean and green recovery. But most importantly, this focus on the climate change agenda gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the fact that change is only going to be effective if we all get on board. It’s pretty clear from the information shared in the sessions so far that the behaviour of people is going to do more to resolve the challenges of climate change that any Government or technology.” 

Emelita Robbins has published a blog post summarising her thoughts on the first block, which can be accessed along with experts’ presentations and factsheets from the first content block on Jersey’s Climate Conversation website. Block two will take place between 27 to 31 March and demonstrate a ‘deeper dive’ into climate change issues, focusing particularly on the contribution of transport to Jersey’s emissions. Following all 14 sessions, the Citizens’ Assembly will come up with a set of recommendations as to how Jersey can achieve its goal to become carbon neutral. 

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