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.

The results

From April 26 to June 23, the Climate Assembly met to discuss the question: “How can Germany achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement - considering social, economic and ecological perspectives?” 160 people, randomly selected from all over Germany, spent more than 50 hours discussing the issue, listening to presentations and developing recommendations. Now they present their conclusions - with a clear mandate to policymakers to continue to pursue the 1.5° target in order to "ensure the preservation of the livelihoods of all people." Below is a list of all the guiding principles and recommendations that were developed by the citizens in the various fields of action - each with an indication of the percentage by which the recommendation was adopted by the entire Climate Assembly.

 
Overarching guiding principles


  • 1. the 1.5 degree target has top priority.
We are all equal before the climate. To ensure the preservation of the livelihood of all people, on which the future of the coming generations depends, the 1.5 degree target is non-negotiable. Every new law must be checked for its climate protection effect and should not counteract the climate targets. Climate protection is a human right and must be included in the constitution

Adopted with 93%


  • 2. Climate protection serves the common good and has priority over individual interests.
In terms of the common good, the protection of the planet has top priority; economic interests and individual interests must be subordinated to this. In particular, large companies must be obliged to act in the interests of climate protection and the common good.

Adopted with 96%


  • 3. Transparency & information must be guaranteed for every action that has an impact on the climate.
Every citizen must be able to make his or her own informed decisions. This requires education and transparency about climate impacts and consequences. Therefore, everyone must have access to all relevant information. There is a governmental duty to educate.

Adopted with 97%


  • 4. Everyone must take responsibility for climate change and be prepared to make changes.
Change is necessary and should be seen as an opportunity. For the necessary transformation we need an economical, political, social and individual change of consciousness and readiness for something new. Politics and society must be guided by their responsibility for a climate-neutral, fairer and better future.

Adopted with 96%


  • 5. Climate protection must be integrated in all educational programmes.
Climate protection education must be made mandatory in all educational institutions and curricula in order to expand climate protection awareness, promote climate-neutral behavior and strengthen the commitment to act.

Adopted with 97%


  • 6. The climate transition must be just for all generations.
Our current actions must not disadvantage future generations. Lowering the voting age to 16 gives younger generations more responsibility and increases pressure on politicians to take more responsibility for future generations.

Adopted with 85%


  • 7. The climate transition must be socially just.
To shape an inclusive future, sustainable environmentally-friendly ways of living must be accessible to everyone. Contributions to this transition must be made according to the principle that the polluter pays. The burdens of the transition must be shared equally on all shoulders in a way that is socially just.

Adopted with 97%


  • 8. The climate transition must be globally just.
Climate protection is a global challenge. Outside Germany, there are many countries that are more severely affected by climate change; humanitarian catastrophes must be averted. Therefore, responsibility must be taken for the countries that are particularly affected by climate change and pressure must be exerted on climate sinners. Climate policy and peace policy go hand in hand.

Adopted with 91%


  • 9. The future of the economy must be climate neutral.
Germany should lead the way as a global role model for climate-neutral living and business. The state should use economic policy instruments at its diposal to give a competitive advantage to companies that operate in a climate-neutral and environmentally friendly manner. The promotion of climate-neutral and environmentally friendly technologies and new jobs in the sector are indispensable for this.

Adopted with 95%


  • 10. Climate-relevant actions must have a direct impact on those who act.
To achieve climate goals, climate friendliness must be attractive and desirable. Government spending and action must take into account climate impacts. The choice of environmentally friendly alternatives must be encouraged through incentives. Climate-damaging actions must be taxed and sanctioned, and climate crimes must be punished.

Adopted with 96%


Guiding principles for action in the field of energy 

1. The state is responsible for setting the framework to guide the energy transition.
  • It is to act in a non-bureaucratic, cross-party and humanistic manner in the spirit of intergenerational justice.
  • The speed of the energy transition has priority over the costs, whereby the consumer should carry the least financial burden. 
  • Security of supply should remain guaranteed.
  • Citizen acceptance must be ensured through increased participation.
Adopted with 95%.


2. 70% of Germany's total energy supply is to be covered by renewable energies by 2035 and 90% by 2040.
  • In the electricity sector, 100% should be achieved earlier, by 2035.
Adopted with 95%.


Guiding principles for action in the field of mobility  

From now on, all measures and decisions of the federal, state and local governments in the field of mobility must take into account the goal of far-reaching climate neutrality as a top priority.

In doing so, public space should become an attractive habitat for people, animals and plants. Avoiding traffic that is harmful to the climate is just as important as shifting traffic to attractive, fast and socially acceptable alternatives in cities and rural areas. Whether or not people’s mobility needs are met must not be dependent on their income. Public transport, cycling and walking must have priority over private motorized transport and, in the case of long-distance transport, rail transport must take precedence over air travel.

Adopted with 97%
 

Guiding principles for action in the field of buildings and heating  

1. In order to achieve the 1.5°C target, the federal, state and local governments are called upon to decisively advance the heating transition through accompanying legislation and appropriate financing in the next two legislative periods.

Adopted with 98%

2. At the same time, acceptance of the heating transition should be promoted through broad-based information campaigns and ongoing dialogue between all stakeholders, and the status of the skilled trades in this area should be raised.

Adopted with 97%
 

Guiding principle for action in the field of nutrition

The transition to climate-friendly agriculture is to take place without delay and ensures the supply of healthy food that is affordable for the entire population as well as an income for the producers.

Adopted with 99%

The final Citizen´s Report

Meanwhile the recommendations collected in the Citizens’ Report were handed over to leading policy makers. During the current coalition negotiations of the new federal government in Germany, we are making sure the recommendations are being heard and taken into consideration. The final Citizens’ Report in English will soon be available for download on this site.
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