Climate Change


19 - How can we fight the climate emergency without fighting each other?

London is at its best when everyone works together. This isn’t always easy, as climate change means making tough decisions. UCL staff supported Camden community members with ideas and technical advice in the country’s first Citizen Climate Assembly. The resulting Climate Action Plan was shared with policymakers.

19 Camden Lock bridge

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Join UCL's Climate Action Society or another environmental group to tackle climate change by involving everyone in your community. 

The Citizens’ Assembly comprises people with diverse views about the climate crisis from a representative range of backgrounds across Camden.

During three meetings, participants learnt how the climate crisis is already affecting Camden and communities around the world. They developed an understanding of how significant carbon dioxide reduction can be technically achieved in Camden, as well as the trade-offs and costs required to secure the deep decarbonisation needed to limit global temperature rises.

To inspire ideas, assembly members heard from community energy groups, academics, renewable energy experts and other cities about how decarbonisation has been achieved in other settings. The Assembly then moved on to deliberate how best to address the climate emergency in Camden at different scales of intervention. Citizens designed a new set of proposals across varying scales: streets, schools, businesses, neighbourhoods, borough, London, UK and international.

Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) – who was one of David Attenborough's experts in his BBC One film Climate Change: The Facts – introduced the Citizen Assembly sessions. He presented the science of climate change and the potential solutions for both government and individuals. 

Professor Simon Lock (UCL Science & Technology) worked with Camden to find out how to get the best out of the Citizen Assembly; recording the detailed discussions and measuring outcomes. They found that the residents attending now feel more confident in engaging with climate discussions and more connected to their community by coming together to discuss how Camden Council should address the crisis.

Joanna Marshall-Cook from Sustainable UCL provided guidance on what would be possible for large organisations in Camden to do, based on the experiences of moving towards net zero carbon at UCL.

At the end of the Assembly, the members agreed 17 actions that should be taken by residents, community groups, businesses and the council in Camden. They were presented to a full council meeting in October 2019 and set the direction of a new Climate Action Plan for Camden which was published in 2020.

Find out more - read more about the assembly and read Camden’s new Climate Action Plan.