The Citizen
Assembly

On Climate

A lot-based citizens' assembly for German climate policy in the next legislative period

The Citizens' Assembly on Climate gathers 160 randomly selected citizens, representative of the whole of society, to discuss how Germany can meet its climate protection targets in a way that is fair to all.

  • 160 randomly selected citizens
  • Meetings on various subject areas
  • accompanied by representatives from science, civil society and business A joint citizens' assembly
  • A joint citizens' assembly

Why a Citizens' Assembly on Climate?

Germany is a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate protection and wants to contribute to limiting the global rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees. In order to reach this target, the Bundestag passed a climate protection law in 2019. However, it is questionable that Germany will be able to achieve its climate targets through this law alone.

The Citizens' Assembly on Climate aims to craft a path toward a climate-friendly way of living and doing business. In a non-partisan and open space, the citizens discuss how the climate goals of the Paris Agreement can be reached ecologically (sustainable for the environment), economically (good for our economy) and socially (fair for all). After all, effective climate protection only works if everyone participates!

At the end of the Citizens' Assembly, the participants will all vote on the recommendations, which will then be summarized in a Citizens' Report. After the federal elections, this Citizens' Report will be handed over to the parties in the German Bundestag. This way, the recommendations can be taken into account in the upcoming coalition negotiations.

The patron of the Citizens' Assembly on Climate is former German President Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler. A constantly growing alliance of civil society organisations supports the project. The association BürgerBegehren Klimaschutz e.V. is the main organiser of the Citizens' Assembly on Climate.

The Citizens' Assembly on Climate project was officially launched in December 2020 when Scientists for Future called for a broad, democratic and participatory public involvement in shaping and securing the future before the end of 2021.

What is a citizens' assembly?  


A citizens' assembly is a form of citizen participation. Citizen participation is the area of politics in which citizens are heard and consulted on specific topics.

However, a citizens' assembly is not just a survey of opinions. It goes far beyond that: The participants receive information on the topic and are given the space to exchange ideas with each other, weigh different points of view and form an opinion.

After an intensive opinion-forming process, a citizens' assembly adopts recommendations and proposals that are then passed on to politicians. Unlike with elections or votes, it does not make politically binding decisions.

A special feature of a citizens' assembly is the random selection of participants:  A large number of citizens are contacted in a randomised process and selected to represent German society on a small scale.

The Citizens' Assembly on Climate is the third nationwide citizens' assembly in Germany. The first citizens' assembly took place in the fall of 2019 and focused on the topic of democracy. The second citizens' assembly took place online in January and February 2021 and dealt with Germany's role in the world. You can find out more about past citizens' assemblies at www.buergerrat.de and www.deutschlands-rolle.buergerrat.de.


How does the Citizen’s Assembly on Climate work?
1. Agenda-setting by the Scientific Board
  • Random selection of the participating citizens

2. Experts counsel the participants on the different subject areas
  • 160 randomly drawn citizens discuss for twelve weeks
  • The Civil Society Advisory Board ensures that the process is neutral

3. The recommendations of the citizens are collected in a Citizens’ Report
  • The Citizens’ Report is handed over to politics

How were the participants selected? 

For the Citizens' Assembly on Climate, around 14,000 people aged 16 and over were contacted by telephone throughout Germany and asked whether they were interested in taking part in the Citizens' Assembly on Climate. For this purpose, cell phone and landline numbers were randomly drawn by a computer. This means that everyone in Germany with a landline or cell phone had the same chance of being selected to participate.

Out of 2,000 interested people, just under 600 people then registered to take part. To ensure that German society is best represented in the citizens' assembly, we then paid attention to certain characteristics when selecting the final 160 participants: People from all German states are taking part. They come from communities of different sizes, ranging from big cities to small villages, and are representative of the whole population when it comes to their age groups, gender, education and migration background.

How were the topics of the Citizens' Assembly determined?

In preparation for the Citizens' Assembly, a scientific board composed of renowned experts suggested possible topics for the Citizens' Assembly on Climate. In addition, the political parties represented in the Bundestag as well as civil society organisations and associations from diverse areas were invited to contribute their opinions and expertise. In this way, we want to ensure that the topics of the Citizens' Assembly on Climate are balanced.

Making the final selection of topics, it was important to us that they offer particularly effective approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This has resulted in the four areas of action in which recommendations for climate protection measures are being developed:
  • Transportation 
  • Buildings and heat 
  • Energy production 
  • Food

The meetings of the Citizens' Assembly on Climate 

Participants will meet on twelve dates to discuss the various areas of action. Presentations can be followed live.

When does the Citizens' Assembly take place?

It starts on April 26, 2021. On twelve dates, 160 citizens drawn by lot will discuss how Germany can achieve its climate protection goals.

Due to the Corona pandemic, the Citizens' Assembly will take place online. The twelve dates are between April 26 and June 23, 2021.
More information about the meetings can be found on this website.

For any questions about the project, please get in touch with info@buergerrat-klima.de.
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