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Follow-up of the Citizens’ Assembly for the Climate

INFORMATION ON FOLLOW-UP OF THE GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO CONVENE THE CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY FOR THE CLIMATE OF CATALONIA

One of the fundamental demands in the Extinction Rebellion movement is the creation of Citizens’ Assemblies for the Climate, “chosen using a representative draw, informed by experts in the field, to deliberate and deliver its recommendations to the government”.

This proposal is based on more than 30 years of experience in which despite the evidence on the climate and ecological crisis and its causes, parliaments and governments have failed to make decisions and take action to give a chance to live to our and future generations. After 30 years of inconsistencies between statements of good intentions and actual decisions, always in the opposite direction, because of the lack of political will, submission to the multinational lobbies, because of the inability to make medium and long-term policies, etc.

Less than a year ago, in the summer of 2020, in Catalonia, more than 300 people at an individual level and 32 environmental, social and neighbourhood organizations promoted a campaign to establish a “Citizens’ Assembly for Climate Change” in Catalonia, as an alternative to the Catalan Government’s project of a Social Table for Climate Change.

The immediate result of this campaign was the appearance of Extinction Rebellion in the latest meeting of the Parliament’s Climate Emergency Monitoring Committee to represent the proposal, which was approved with the following text: “Promote the necessary instruments to create a Citizens’ Assembly as a mechanism to address the climate crisis and reach consensus and establish measures in the decision-making process.

However, in the latest election in Catalonia’s Parliament, we worriedly saw how only one candidacy represented in the Parliament included the convention of a Citizens’ Assembly for the Climate in their electoral program, and then this demand did not appear in the political action included in the government’s pacts.

These are the reasons why Extinction Rebellion decided to occupy the headquarters of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainability on the 4th of June, for 4 hours, until the chair of the new Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, Teresa Jordà, announced her commitment to “convey the Assembly during the first 100 days of the legislature”.

From then on, Extinction Rebellion and other entities of the Network for Climate Justice have formed a working group to do the follow-up of the Government’s commitment. To this day, there have been two meetings with the Ministry and another one with the Parliament’s President. The first meeting with the Ministry took place in mid-June with the objective of formally presenting our proposal of criteria for the constitution of a Citizens’ Assembly for the Climate (CAC) that deserves its name and is actually useful in unraveling measures to face the climate and ecological emergency. The second meeting was made so that the Ministry presented a first proposal of the agenda of the CAC, that would begin to function during spring of 2022.

We expect the government to publicly convey the CAC during the first weeks after the summer. At the same time, we want to record that, despite we positively value the Ministry’s work and some of the proposals that were drafted, which still need much more concretion, we still have to keep our feet on earth. Some elements that we consider to be very relevant for this proposal are still pending definition by the Government, especially two: 1) the question or mandate to be given to the CAC and 2) how the binding nature for government and/or parliamentary action of what is decided by a majority in the CAC is guaranteed.

At the same time, political positionings that have recently been made, such as the candidacy for the Winter Olympic Games 2030 or the extension of the Airport, are making us doubt the Government’s level of comprehension and political commitment in facing the climate and ecological emergency and therefore the real commitment it is willing to take with the CAC. More doubt arises from the fact that these political positionings took place right after the release of the latest IPCC Report which again gives a warning that the situation is evolving according to the worst forecasts and that the time to react and act is shortening and forcing to take stronger and braver decisions for the reduction of emissions.
But at the same time, these blatant inconsistencies of elected political institutions confirm the need for direct citizenship intervention through contrasted information, deliberation, and decision-making process that goes beyond the current political deadlock.

We will continue our follow-up on this Catalan Government’s proposal for the CAC, and we will continue to offer our collaboration to accomplish the creation of a truly informed, deliberative, and truly democratic process that gives voice to the citizens. At the same time, we want to state that we will not allow that the term CAC is used to perform a drill like the one invented by the Spanish government, so therefore we are still committed to carrying out the necessary amount of non-violent civil disobedience actions and when necessary, to give the word to the citizens.

Strategy Commission of Extinction Rebellion Barcelona

August 31st, 2021

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