Oxford announces UK’s first ‘citizen’s assembly’ to tackle climate change

Oxford City Council will become the first local authority in the UK to set up its own citizen’s assembly to tackle climate change, it has announced.

The citizens assembly will be made up of a randomly-selected representative sample of Oxford’s residents and will be tasked with considering measures Oxford should take to help it limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The assembly, which will be the first in the UK created to consider climate change, is set to hold its first meeting this September.

The announcement comes after members of Oxford City Council unanimously declared a climate emergency this past January, agreeing to create the assembly to consider new carbon targets as well as other measures to reduce the city’s emissions.

Gordon Mitchell, chief executive of Oxford City Council, said: ‘The urgency in the need to act on Oxford’s carbon emissions was underlined by the city council’s unanimous vote this year which declared a climate emergency and called for the setting up of a citizens’ assembly to help us consider additional measures and make recommendations for our city.

Mitchell added: ‘Taking this forward is one of the council’s key priorities for 2019.’

Under the plans, Oxford council will commission research to develop the city’s options for carbon reduction in areas such as housing and transport, which the assembly will consider.

The citizens assembly’s recommendations will be used to help the council make its final decisions about which targets and measures it should adopt.

The council’s work on climate change will be supported by the city’s universities, businesses and communities, which are taking action both in partnership with the council and independently.

Oxford has announced over £80m of initiatives just this month to support its aim to reduce its carbon emissions.

Measures the council is set to introduce include installing one of the world’s largest batteries to support electric vehicle charging and low-carbon heat networking, as well as creating a new ‘smart’ energy grid.

The council has also received funding from central government to help it upgrade its buses to Euro VI standard and bring zero-emissions taxis to the streets of Oxford.

Oxford City Council is responsible for just 1% of CO2 in Oxford’s air and is a member of Low Carbon Oxford, a network of 40 organisations aiming to reduce emissions in the city by 40% of 2005 levels by 2020.

Next week, the Independent Committee on Climate Change is set to publish its advice to the UK government to tighten the UK’s carbon reduction targets.

Recent projections released by the Department of Business, Energy and Independent S (BEIS) show the UK missing its carbon targets into the mid-2030s.

Image credit: David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden

Digital News Reporter

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