At a glance

Democratic Society

Scotland’s Climate Assembly is Scotland’s first citizens’ assembly focused on climate change. Grounded in Scotland’s Climate Change Act (2019), the Assembly brought together over 100 ordinary citizens from across Scotland to deliberate about the climate emergency. They were tasked with answering the question:

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

How did Scotland's Climate Assembly work?

From November 2020 to March 2021, Assembly members met online for seven weekends. The Evidence Group created a learning journey ensuring that members heard balanced, accurate and comprehensive evidence about the climate emergency , and different ways of tackling it. The Assembly learned about climate change, mitigation, adaptation, fairness, and how change happens before splitting into three streams to consider Diet, Land Use and Lifestyle; Homes and Communities; and Travel and Work. Evidence was presented to the Assembly through video presentations, followed by discussions in small groups with experts on hand to respond to questions.

Assembly members also heard from children in the Children’s Parliament. As Scotland’s Climate Assembly members were aged 16+, the Assembly worked closely with Children’s Parliament to integrate their activity into the Assembly and ensure children’s voices are heard in decision-making. The children’s work was regularly fed back to Assembly members, which helped to shape the Assembly’s final recommendations. Assembly members and the children also met in an online workshop to share their views and experiences. The children’s calls to action are integrated with the Assembly’s recommendations in the final report.

What happens next?

The final report was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 23rd June.  Assembly members have set out their Statement of Ambition and Recommendations. The next step is for Scottish Ministers to publish a statement setting out how they intend to respond to the recommendations made in this report. The Climate Change Act requires Ministers to respond within six months of receiving this report. This firm grounding in legislation is a particular strength of Scotland’s Climate Assembly, providing a direct route for Assembly members’ recommendations to policymaking.

Over the summer there will be opportunities for Assembly members to meet with people andorganisations working in those areas covered by the Assembly’s recommendations and to discuss their proposals with stakeholders.

Scotland’s Climate Assembly members have committed to meet again after Ministers publish their response.

What is Involve's role?

Involve and the Democratic Society were jointly responsible for ensuring that Scotland's Climate Assembly was a high-quality citizens’ assembly. Both organisations worked on the assembly’s design, focussing on areas such as the assembly’s structure, timings and accessibility. Involve also provided member support for the 105 Assembly Members, including providing support for them to participate online and be confident in contributing to the process. 

Find out more on Scotland's Climate Assembly website.

Go to the website

Photo by Chris Flexen on Unsplash