June 23, 2024

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Various groups are promoting a “permanent climate parliament” in response to climate denial

Various groups are promoting a “permanent climate parliament” in response to climate denial

Is it possible to create a permanent citizen climate parliament in Spain? This is what the Civic Climate Association and the Sustainability Observatory are proposing, two entities that claim to revitalize citizen participation in climate protection as a tool for “democratic renewal” based on the knowledge provided by science in this field.

The campaign for a permanent citizen climate parliament is supported by various groups, such as Marea Deliberativa and Democracia por el Clima. All of these entities believe that the “enormous engagement potential” that climate protection can deliver has been demonstrated.

“We are making this demand in a very worrying context, and also as a response to the anti-climate denial practiced by far-right parties in Europe and Spain,” says Agnès Delage, professor of contemporary history at Aix-Marseille University, and one of the promoters of this idea. This is civil mobilization.

Citizen participation is one way to address climate-related crises.

Agnes DelageOne of the promoters of this civil mobilization.

“The purpose of the Citizen Climate Parliament is to create a space for decision-making informed by science and independent of the action of interest groups within a system of representative democracy, in order to strengthen it,” Delage explains to this newspaper.

“Not only are we facing a climate crisis that threatens the survival of humanity, we are also witnessing an unprecedented political crisis that puts all democracies at risk. In the face of this decline in democracy, citizen engagement is one way to build the rule of environmental law that will allow us to confront climate-related crises and the need to change our paradigm.” Deeply productive and engaged expert.

Members of that experience

Who are the promoters of the Permanent Citizen Climate Parliament? First and foremost, the Citizens’ Assembly for Climate, which brings together people who intervened between December 2021 and June 2022 in the Citizens’ Assembly for Climate, which was the first deliberative process (created by a representative lottery) on a large scale in our society. nation.

The goal is to keep alive the flame of that civic engagement experiment that has resulted in 172 action decisions, even though it has not yet been discussed in Congress. Therefore, there is also a lot of criticism of the Spanish Parliament, as these decisions were not discussed in the parliamentary chamber, as promised.

Since 2022, many people who were an integral part of that democratic experience have committed to disseminating and implementing the approved agreements, and promoting the full institutionalization of participatory democracy in the decision-making process “to ensure a just and profound transformation of our society.” In the face of the climate emergency.”

This initiative was one of the five main measures announced by Pedro Sánchez as Head of Government on January 21, 2020, after declaring a climate emergency in our country.

In collaboration with experts from the Sustainability Observatory, these people are now addressing society and especially all environmental movements, unions and neighborhood associations, to ask for their public support to demand the creation of a participatory citizen institution.

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A way to promote permanent and binding citizen participation

Promoters of this initiative believe that the current context leading up to the European elections, which is characterized by “increasing polarization”, justifies the push for the creation of a “permanent climate parliament” because “this is a good way to promote permanent and binding citizen participation.” “The European Commission called for this last December,” says Agnès Delage.

This expert points out that since 2019, dozens of participatory processes have been implemented in Europe on climate issues and “now we have the results” of that experience. Thus, “a recent study has shown that these processes are successful because informed citizens are able to make long-term transformational decisions and especially plan adequacy and sobriety policies to ensure social justice.”

The recent scientific report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change focused specifically on the appropriateness of citizen assemblies, recommending encouraging “greater public participation in climate policy and governance processes” because they “allow for social transformation.” Towards systemic change, even in complex, dynamic and controversial contexts.

In Spain, climate citizen gatherings are being organized between 2022 and 2024 in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Navarra. We have learned from the initial limitations and from the great achievements of all these processes. Now is the time to commit to the dynamics of institutionalizing shared governance of climate citizens that are developing across Europe.

Ensuring that decisions are subsequently subject to legislative treatment

Delage adds that it is also related to the nature of permanent participation and avoiding “whitewashing of the citizen’s image,” that is, the fact that citizen consultations are conducted without the approved decisions having guarantees for subsequent legislative treatment. “There are neighboring countries, such as France, that already assume that the increase in temperatures will reach 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 and that the Paris Agreement target is no longer achievable. “With the democratic powers that we have now, it is our duty to prepare for this future,” Delage adds. “Very difficult.”

The promoters of this initiative believe that this proposal could be a model of action capable of generating high social trust, because it will be based on science and will include real citizen participation. Their argument is that there is a crisis of confidence in our country that leads 72% of the population to distrust the political class and its ability to act in the face of the climate emergency.

Reference in this sense is the commitment of several international NGOs, such as WWF, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace, which are currently promoting a manifesto for the European elections calling for the institutionalization of permanent, science-informed climate citizen engagement on All levels. goverment Authorities-

Head of Government Pedro Sánchez greeted with Vice President Teresa Ribera upon receiving the conclusions of the Civic Climate Assembly in June 2022


What is this citizens’ parliament?

But what is a Permanent Citizen Climate Parliament? It is a citizens’ assembly, consisting of 100 members chosen by representative lottery and given a one-year term.

The Assembly will be advised by the Climate Council, also permanent and made up of 25 qualified members of civil society, with representatives of environmental associations, social and trade union actors, economic agents and experts.

This body will partly align with the Committee of Experts on Climate Change and Energy Transition set out by the Climate Change Act (Article 37) when approved in 2021, but its development by royal decree is still pending.

Therefore, the Citizen’s Climate Parliament will appoint the group formed by the Citizens’ Assembly and the Climate Council, and will also include a space for citizen dissemination. “It will be a public space for science-based decision-making free from the influence of interest groups” designed “to plan a just environmental transition.”

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Antonio Cirillo

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