Scotland's Climate Assembly

7-8 November 2020  First meeting of the Assembly

‘How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?’

On the 7th & 8th November, Scotland’s Climate Assembly hosted Members at the first Assembly meeting. Members from age 16 to 82 joined experts and facilitators online to tackle the question with which they have been tasked. 


Extinction Rebellion, one of whose demands for some time has been the calling of Citizens' Assemblies to accelerate a serious response to climate change, has walked out of the Scottish Climate Assembly which has just held its first meeting.   Read more

Saturday 7 November – Meeting 1

The agenda for each day included a mix of presentations from expert evidence leads as well as deliberation sessions which took place in small groups of approximately 6-8 members, each with a professional facilitator.  While the discussions of those small groups will remain private to allow completely open discussion between members, video of all other sessions can be found on our website,  YouTube channel or at the links below.  

Saturday: agenda
10:00am     A warm welcome to Scotland's Climate Assembly
from Head of the Secretariat Susie Townend
10:05am     Introduction to Assembly Conveners
Ruth Harvey and Josh Littlejohn
Plenary session: Introduction and who is involved? 
11:10am     Introduction to climate change
Presentation by Expert Lead Iain Stewart
12:00pm Saturday morning session concluded

1:30pm Welcome back for Saturday afternoon session
                    Introduction to climate change: Q&A
2:00pm        How to approach evidence
Presentation by Alan Renwick (Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit, UCL)
2:55pm        Impacts of climate change 
Presentation by Expert Lead Kate Crowley
3:40pm        Starting to think about change
Presentation by Expert Lead Anna Birney
3:45pm        Opportunities for change
Presentation by Tahseen Jafry
4:00pm Meeting 1 of Scotland's Climate Assembly concluded

Sunday 8 November – Meeting 2
After providing members with a baseline understanding of what climate change is and what its impacts are, Sunday’s evidence sessions looked deeper into how we can adapt to these impacts and ways to reduce them in future.  
An exciting part of the second day was hearing from the Children's Parliament. 100 children from 10 schools across Scotland will be looking at similar topics to the Assembly Members as the meetings progress. Each Assembly weekend, their 12 eager investigators will report to the Assembly on their findings, capturing the voices of those too young to join the Assembly as members, but most impacted by its recommendations. 

Sunday: agenda

10:00am       Welcome to Scotland's Climate Assembly second meeting
10:10am       How and why do we set climate targets?
Presentation by Expert Lead Iain Stewart
11:02am       Q&A + What factors do we need to consider when thinking about change?
Q&A responses from Expert Leads Iain Stewart and John Ward
Presentation by Expert Lead Anna Birney
12:15pm Sunday morning session concluded

1:45pm          Welcome back for afternoon session 
1:50pm          Children's Parliament
2:00pm          How do we live with climate change (adaptation)?
Presentation by Expert Lead Kate Crowley
2:35pm Plenary session: Key takeaways shared by Assembly Members
2:55pm          How do we reduce our contribution to climate change (mitigation)?
Presentation by Expert Lead Dave Reay
4:00pm Weekend 1 of Scotland's Climate Assembly concluded


The setting up of a citizens' Climate Assembly for Scotland, as required by the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, began in September 2020 with the selection of 100 individuals as Assembly members to provide a representative sample of all sections of the population.  -   'A number of criteria will be used during the selection process including age, gender, ethnicity, disability, geography, rurality, household income, and attitude towards climate change.'

Meetings will be held, initially online, over six weekends from November 2020 to March 2021. The Assembly's deliberations will be guided by the question
'How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?'

Public consultation in the form of an 'ideas forum' ran from 9 to 26 October (it seems with very little publicity and limited response), and the forum 'results' are available in a rather confusing format  here  (filter by highest rated or most comments).  It is not clear if there will be any further public consultation.

More information is available on the Assembly's website at


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