The Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change brought together 50 randomly selected groups of people to learn about climate issues, discuss them with one another, and make recommendations. They met online between 28th September and 20 October 2019.
Problems and Purpose
Some of the problems this assembly sort to solve is the issue of how to use less energy in the construction of buildings that are fit for purpose. How to develop a sustainable zero-carbon transport system. And lastly how to generate more renewable energy.
Background History and Context
In January 2019, Oxford City Council unanimously passed an amended motion declaring a Climate Emergency. As a result of this, Oxford City Council became one of the first local authorities in the UK to establish a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Ipsos MORI was been appointed to undertake the recruitment of participants and provide overall facilitation for the Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Quotas were set for key demographic criteria including gender, age, ethnicity, disability and area of Oxford residency. Other variables were monitored but not used as selection criteria such as social grade, educational attainment, working status, length of Oxford residency, and environmental and political attitudes to ensure a range of participants were included that broadly reflected the views of the wider Oxford population.
Methods and Tools Used
The Oxford Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change was led by Oxford City Council. As an independent research agency, Ipsos MORI was commissioned to recruit, coordinate, and conduct the Citizens’ Assembly.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
When ‘in session’, the Assembly Members were split into six tables of approximately eight members each. On each of the six tables, the discussion was facilitated by experienced and senior moderators from Ipsos MORI. A detailed discussion guide was used to structure the conversations and ensure all the topics were covered uniformly. A professional note-taker was also assigned to each table to transcribe the discussions. Assembly Members were assigned to different tables at random each day in order to ensure they were exposed to as wide a range of opinions as possible from fellow members.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
In the coming years, the findings will feed into the City Council’s upcoming Sustainability Strategy, including an Action Plan to determine how the City Council can play its part in tackling the climate emergency over the coming months and years.
Analysis and Lessons Learned