Recommendations from UK’s first national citizens assembly on climate change


The UK’s first national citizens assembly on climate change has released its final report on cutting emissions to net zero.

Here are some of the key recommendations.

– Surface transport

A ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030–2035, with moves to quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles and grants for low carbon cars.

A reduction in car use by an average of 2%–5% per decade, improved public transport, and investment in cycling and scooters.

– Air travel

A silhouette of a plane
A silhouette of a plane

People should still be allowed to fly, but there should be limits to the growth in passenger numbers and frequent and long-haul flyers should pay more, with taxes that increase as people fly more often and further.

There also needs to be investment in development and use of new technologies such as synthetic fuels and electric aircraft.

– In the home

Efforts to retrofit homes to cut emissions need to minimise disruption in the home, put in place support around costs, and offer flexibility and choice to homeowners.

There should be a ban on sales of new gas boilers from 2030 or 2035 and local plans for zero carbon homes, with areas able to choose the best technologies for their needs.

– What we eat and how we use the land

A scene of the countryside
A scene of the countryside

A change in the diet to reduce meat and dairy consumption by 20%-40%, with education to help make the changes voluntary, and labelling food and drink products to show the emissions that come from different foods.

Restoring woodlands, peatlands and gorselands and supporting farmers to make the shift to climate-friendly farming.

– What we buy

Targets, standards and taxes to ensure businesses make products using less and lower carbon energy and materials, and carbon emissions labelling for products.

Measures to enable product sharing, to reduce new purchases, and to support increased recycling.

– Where our electricity comes from

Offshore wind, solar power and onshore wind should be used to generate electricity as the UK moves to net zero.

There were much lower levels of support for bioenergy, nuclear, and fossil fuels with technology that captures and permanently stores emissions.

– Greenhouse gas removals

Forests and better forest management, restoring and managing peatlands and wetlands, using wood in construction, enhancing the storage of carbon in the soil should be used to absorb emissions from the atmosphere.

Cranes at wetlands
Cranes at wetlands

There was less support for technologies to remove emissions, but some support for further research and development into them.

– Covid-19, recovery and the path to net zero

Limit or put conditions on investment in high carbon industries, support low carbon sectors, rethink and invest in infrastructure.

Make the most of the economic opportunities presented by the path to net zero and try to deal with Covid-19 and climate change together where possible.

– Additional recommendations supported by the Climate Assembly included a call for the transition to net zero to be a cross-political party, not partisan issue, more transparency in the relationship between government and big energy companies, and making sure UK emissions are not pushed elsewhere in the world.

– The assembly did not pass two proposals on reaching net zero by an earlier date than the legal target of 2050, with slightly more members opposed than supporting it, and the balance held by those who were unsure or did not mind.