“Voting is Such a Blunt Instrument”: Britain’s Climate Assembly Report Gathers Momentum

Citizens Climate Assembly

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Climate activists are celebrating the sham political legitimacy of the government sanctioned British Climate Assembly, and other climate assemblies which are popping up around Europe.

Jury duty for global warming: citizen groups help solve the puzzle of climate action

By Cathleen O’GradyOct. 29, 2020 , 1:45 PM

The U.K. Climate Assembly is one of a growing number of similar gatherings popping up across Europe, many of them charged with addressing climate change and other science-heavy issues. A citizens’ assembly in Ireland that deliberated from 2016 to 2018 led to a referendum that legalized abortion and a government plan to quadruple its carbon tax by 2030. This year in France, an assembly made 149 climate policy recommendations, and President Emmanuel Macron has agreed to push for 146 of them, including making “ecocide” a crime and including climate goals in the French constitution. Spain, Denmark, and Scotland have announced their own upcoming climate assemblies, although they have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. And at the regional and local level, dozens of citizens’ juries and councils have drawn up policies on climate adaptation, air quality, and environmental protection.

Over three weekends—and a fourth weekend forced online and stretched over three weekends because of the pandemic—the assembly listened not only to scientists, but also to representatives of interest groups such as Greenpeace and industry body Energy UK. The goal was to provide both impartial information and explicitly labeled opinions from advocates, says Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body advising the government. Assembly member Ibrahim Wali, a doctor from Epsom, says that although some members didn’t believe the scientists or think climate action was worthwhile, it was clear to everyone that they were not there “to argue about whether climate change is real.” The assembly’s clear task—identifying policies to reach net zero by 2050—kept discussions on track, he adds.

RANDOMLY ASSIGNING CITIZENS to positions of political power has a history stretching back to ancient Greece, where the Athenians used the practice to select magistrates and members of their representative Council of Five Hundred. But the architects of electoral systems in postrevolution France and the United States preferred a republican system of professional politicians—an “elected aristocracy”—over outright rule by the masses, Van Reybrouck says. “They were as much afraid of democracy then as we would be of anarchy today.”

Politicians also tend to overestimate the opposition of a vocal minority to some climate measures—such as onshore wind farms, she says. And they fear punishment at the ballot box, where citizens express their opinions about a multitude of policies at the same time: “Voting is such a blunt instrument.

Read more: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/10/jury-duty-global-warming-citizen-groups-help-solve-puzzle-climate-action

Although the British Citizen’s assembly was set up to appease Extinction Rebellion, I suspect British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is happy with the outcome.

“Citizens assemblies” appear to be becoming popular all over Europe with politicians who want to provide a veneer of democratic legitimacy to a process to push forward unpopular policies. In my opinion this is because politically naive citizens assemblies are much easier to manipulate than genuine representative democracy.

The UK assemblies contained a small number of people who were against climate action, a composition of views which allegedly matched the demographics of the British people. But “it was clear to everyone that they were not there “to argue about whether climate change is real.”.

Why was it clear to everyone some issues were not up for discussion? Because the assembly moderators set the agenda, of course.

The politically naive opponents of climate action on the assembly acquiesced to this soft coercion in a way which would never have happened in a legitimate parliament of politically experienced elected representatives.

50 thoughts on ““Voting is Such a Blunt Instrument”: Britain’s Climate Assembly Report Gathers Momentum

  1. Citizens Assemblies like the British Climate Assembly, are disturbingly like the puppet regimes that the Soviet Union established all over Europe after the iron Wall came down. They will be equally democratic, informed, useful and representative of reality. They will be there solely to implement the requirements of the ruling elite.

    • It’s also how the EU is set up. Just like these assembly moderators who set the agenda, in the EU the commissars set the policies that the elected officials may vote on. I don’t know, but the UN seems very similar except none of those are elected by citizens.

      The USSR didn’t collapse, it just slunk away and morphed into the EUSSR and the UNSSR.

    • Agreed, its obviously a vehicle to get an unelected group to endorse a proposal which no elected representatives would endorse, because they’d get kicked out at the next election. Its also ridiculous as a way of proceeding. You really want to know how to get to net-zero, set up a civil service task force. In six months they will give you a properly thought through plan.

      Which you will not like one bit. But it will be a realistic account of what it will take.

      Calling an assembly of randomly selected amateurs isn’t going to do that.

      So the real question to ask is this. Why is it that the Government and the Opposition are both so determined to take piecemeal measures which cannot be implemented on their own, and which will anyway not have any effect on the supposed problem, global emissions?

      Inquiring minds want to know!

      • When your goal is to keep the government cash flowing to your crony capitalist paymasters, you need an unsustainable, unrealistic plan that you can blame on someone else when it collapses as it must.

        Climate soviets seem like an ideal process.

        Don’t forget that the crony capitalists are only using the alleged need for net zero by 2050 as a lever to force higher spending today. They will be happy to push grids to near collapse with their current product mix and then shift to solving the problems that they create with their next product offerings. Ideally those products will be even more expensive and profitable.

        At the same time, raising the cost of energy to the point where half the population can’t afford to stay warm in winter is a huge opportunity. Government payments to those citizens will lock them into voting for the party that delivers the cash.

        Now you have perfected the fascist virtuous cycle. Politicians enact laws that generate huge useless spending flows that create profits for cronies who kick back contributions. The process pauperizes the population and the politicians solve that by giving half the population enough money to survive if they scrimp. Now their on-going kickback payments are adequate to run election campaigns where the threat of losing fuel subsidies will be sufficient to keep the serfs in line.

        By and by it will be discovered that initial efforts have been more successful than originally hoped. Everyone will have long forgotten the net-zero target. With all the fossil fuel companies bankrupted, it will “require” a state-owned enterprise to take over the assets and “responsibly” extract “dangerous” energy sources.

        Maybe a few sham trials to blame scapegoats and conveniently dead people for misleading us all about climate change, and voila, we are back to a fossil fuel economy but now the politicians and cronies have all the money.

        Maybe I’m a bit jaded 🙂

      • Nothing addresses the FACT that all net-zero efforts are based on junk science, Earth is NOT warming and miss the fact that CO2 is plant food that is greening the world. It is impossible for any gas at any concentration in the atmosphere to warm Earth’s surface and the climate. Simple and proven thermodynamics.

        The (uninformed and ignorant) people have moved on to how to commit economic and environmental suicide through the useless goals of net-zero and reducing the world standard of living (of all countries, even the lowest) and reducing the world population. Evil, but it makes them feel good?

        • Charles, it is a matter of simple physics to show that the introduction of an IR absorbing and reradiating gas into the atmosphere, in conjunction with a surface heat source (sunlight) will result in a warmer surface radiating temperature. This in order for the total outgoing radiation to outer space to be the same as the heat input from the surface heat source (sunlight).

          But for people who can’t solve two simultaneous equations, it is something of a challenge.

          • DMc, “it is a matter of simple physics to show that the introduction of an IR absorbing and reradiating gas into the atmosphere, in conjunction with a surface heat source (sunlight) will result in a warmer surface radiating temperature.

            Only when nothing else changes, DMac.

            When the system is a dynamic far-from-equilibrium entropy-dissipating stable state such as the terrestrial climate, such simplistic views as yours are hopelessly inadequate.

            Small example: the total solar irradiance on the terrestrial cloud tops is about 1360 W/m^2. Of this, about 245 W/m^2 makes it to the surface, while 1115 is reflected away. Mostly by clouds.

            All that needs happen is cloud reflectance increase by 0.3%, and the entire freight of GHG forcing since 1900 is erased.

            No detectable change in tropospheric sensible heat.

    • It’s a Punch and Judy show! Sit back and let the farce numb your critical faculties. Whatever you do, don’t think about who or what is manipulating the strings. The play will be over soon, and we can all fade away. Every species has it’s hour to strut and fret upon the stage, and it’s time to take our final curtain call and exit stage left.

    • Citizen Assemblies? There are ‘citizen assemblies’ in the US burning buildings and cars and what have you with other ones toting firearms threatening to use them against the first lot. In parts of the islamic world there are ‘citizen assemblies’ demanding death to French people and so on. Fancy name for mobs.

  2. Makes perfect sense. 500 people agree with me, lets make it a government policy.
    Much easier than a few million people all want to have their say and it might not be what I want.

    The climate cult kiddies are weeping about their future. I’m just a tad more than concerned at mine with these sorts of developments!

    • It is very easy to cajole, or intimidate and blackmail 500 people for an organized group. After all their work, they basically run the country, deciding what can be done, what the prices on goods are, who gets electricity or not. It is communism in action.

      Assemblies are a long communist and socialist tradition, USSR was run by Workers Assemblies and so they want to run us.

  3. The completely insane thing about this, as stated, is that the objective seems to have been getting the UK to net-zero.

    The real question, if you accepted the whole theory, is not how to get the UK there, but how to get the world there, and the fact the Greens are in denial about is that getting the UK there will not get the world any closer to it.

    The UK is around 450 million tonnes of CO2 emissions out of a global total of about 40 billion. Even if you count the emissions due to imports, its only about 600 million.

    The UK can get to net-zero this year, next year, 2030 or 2050, or never. It will have no significant effect either way on global emission totals. It will be totally swamped in one year by the increase in China, India, etc.

    The demand to get the country to net-zero is usually made in the same breath as talk about saving the planet and the alleged climate crisis or catastrophe, or the Guardian’s ‘global heating’. But no explanation is ever given of how effective doing it will be. its like it is a divine commandment issued to the faithful, don’t ask why.

    Interestingly, the UK has come bang up against the practical political implications of some of this stuff. The Greens have been promoting cycling for some time. But it doesn’t happen, because, like it or not, that requires segregated bikeways. People rightly will not take to the streets on their bikes in large numbers as long as they have to share the road with cars and large trucks driving at speed. They have basically been in denial about this, kept on promoting, and not increasing cycling.

    However, during COVID lockdowns, lots of cities, with Government approval, have sought to promote cycling and walking. They have finally admitted that to do that you have to make dedicated bikeways, so you have to limit cars. This turns out to be controversial and divisive, and quite a few local authorities have been obliged to reverse in the face of furious protests.

    Personally I greatly favor limiting the car, having adequate and safe bikeways and walkways, not in the cause of limiting CO2 emissions, but because it would lead to pleasanter, less polluted, quieter and safer cities. But its not going to happen without major changes to how we live, work, play and shop.

    The Greens, having finally got out of denial about the need for dedicated bike and walk ways, are now facing the next thing they are in denial about: its not just close a few streets. Its about the structure of personal transport, and that means thinking through the whole subject of how and where we live work and shop, and how we get to and from it all.

    Don’t hold your breath for any honesty or clarity. You’ll get lots of hot air in the Guardian, lots of middle class protests by Extinction Rebellion, and nothing will change.

    We wait with interest to see the same thing repeat itself with the conversion to electric cars. Pick something to do, ignore or deny all the correlated changes it requires for successful implementation, find out it won’t work if you leave everything else the same, encounter popular protests, back off…

    I would like to see electric cars, as well as bikeways and walkways. The idea of cramming streets with diesel engines’ exhaust where we live work and play was simply grotesque. But you cannot get there from here, like this.

    • “…I would like to see electric cars, as well as bikeways and walkways. …”

      I have no objection to electric cars competing with I/C cars on a level playing field. And I think that pedestrian access should be available anywhere it is legal to be.

      But pedal cycles are a very unsafe mode of transport which would not be made legal if they had been invented in this century. They are an outmoded form of transport, like the horse, and not suitable for modern transport. Like the horse, they should be used under controlled circumstances – on private land or in stadia for competitions and such like. Any form of transport which moves people at speeds of 10-20mph occupying the same space as pedestrians at 2 mph or cars at 70mph, and which allows your unproteted body to take any impact simply should not be allowed.

      • Any form of transport which moves people at speeds of 10-20mph occupying the same space as pedestrians at 2 mph or cars at 70mph, and which allows your unproteted body to take any impact simply should not be allowed.

        Yes, this is correct. And its why countries in which bikes are a usual means of transport invariably have segregated bikeways. Holland is the usual example. The way they got to them was as a program to limit accidents caused by the rise of the car, which led to unacceptably high death and injury rates among children. They segregated bike traffic and solved the problem.

        Bikes used on such segregated ways are not perfectly safe. You are still going at 10 or so mph (few reach 20 and then not for long periods), and you are still, if you come off, falling from some height. So injuries do happen. But the risk level on dedicated bikeways is small and has proved acceptable.

        It is as idiotic to mix walkers and bikes as it is to mix either with cars. In Holland you mostly find walkways separated from bikeways, which is the proper way to do it if you are laying out the network for bikes as a main means of transport. And of course both from cars and trucks.

        • I personally know 3 parents who have lost children in bike accidents: a kid, a young adult and a middle aged. The young adult was on one of Holland’s celebrated bike paths.

          Montreal has put up barriers to protect bikers, but half the year biking is not really an option, so they are bare for half the year. Is this good use of urban space?

          In Vancouver it is always interesting to count the bikers. At the ‘going to work’ period, there is about 3 per km of road. At peak recreational times there might be 10 per km on the bike routes. Otherwise, there is only the odd idiot in black spandex in the rainy dark. Unfortunately if I hit the bugger, its my fault by definition,

          On my island, the visitors seem to have a death wish, preferring olive green and black on narrow roads. The natives at least wear high viz gear.

      • Actually using your logic it would appear that cars should be banned rather than bikes in
        many places. The average driving in speed in central London for example is 7.1 mph and
        11 mph in inner London. Any component cyclist is faster than that and is being slowed down
        and in danger of being killed by people in cars.

        In fact cycling regularly to work has been shown to decrease your chances of dying from all
        causes by 50%. In terms of public health measures that are cheap and effective encouraging
        cycling has to be top of the list and pays for itself in reduced health costs.

  4. “Voting is Such a Blunt Instrument”

    I assume however that if it always resulted in the “correct” outcome then it would be considered a surgically precise process?

    • I saw something like this at the campus where I was teaching. The provost wanted to make it look like the administration was responsive to the faculty’s concerns. However they didn’t want any recommendations that they wouldn’t like to come out of the meeting.

      They split the group of around 30 volunteers into subgroups of five or six. These smaller groups were then asked to come up with three recommendations that they agreed on as a subgroup, to present to the group as a whole. This process effectively stifled the expression of any ideas that would rock the boat.

      I knew the person who organized the meeting. I asked afterward whose idea it was to set up the meeting that way, but she wasn’t responsive.

  5. Those naive people were re-educated by nonprofits. If you look at financing, non-profit activists groups contributed TWICE the money for “training and informing citizens” on the Assembly than the government.
    Then , they ran scare tactic presentations.

    <>

    See, it worked perfectly. And similar as I had under communism, it will always get better in 50 years in the future. When be finally build communism. When we finally defeat climate change. Meanwhile, you are to subside on scraps while the elites get everything for themselves, you are controlled and forced to do anything that’s necessary.

    A sweet deal like the climate science – no need for any results or predictions coming true.

  6. Through financial necessity I spend several years cycling to work, come rain or shine. I the UK a fair amount of time is in the rain. Modern cycling gear has improved the lot of the cyclist but it takes dedication and commitment to do it all year. Either that or no money.

    • Likewise, 60 miles a week, until we moved office, now it’s only 30, and it’s not really enough to keep the flab off. I prefer cycling, having been ‘cycling to work’ since the age of 11.
      I don’t mind rain, it’s sleet I hate. Gale-blown sleet is just the worst. Instantly frozen and wet.
      At my old office on the edge of town there’d be 35+ bikes in the summer.
      In winter, only 3, one of which was mine. Some people call that sort of ‘dedication and commitment’ madness. I certainly couldn’t afford a bus pass, so it was the only thing to do, but now at 61, and with a free bus pass, I do use the bus occasionally if the weather is really manky. Still prefer the freedom of the bike though.

  7. Ironically on November 5th the English celebrate the failure of that other attempt to usurp the role by Parliament. By blowing it up. The Guy was executed for his efforts. It ought to be a warning to the wannabees who wish to be a member of such a club.

  8. I would like to know how big a proportion of the populations in the various countries actually participate in such groups. The media will do their best to inflate the importance and size of the movement out of all proportion. And I bet that the participants are mostly very young and immature – and Green!

    My feeling is that scepticism of climate alarm is actually growing in all countries.

  9. Before amnyone advocates semi-universal urban cycling, perhaps they could think about the effect on a biker of 6 months serious snow and ice, with regular temperatures many degrees Centigrade below zero. Not everyone lives in rainy but relatively warm UK.

    Tony

  10. We need to make democracide or freedomcide a crime. And affordable energycide. Or how about the English languagecide? And don’t forget coalcide, fossil fuelcide, and even nuclear powercide. These should all be made into crimes. Wow, inventing phrases and then giving them criminal status is cool!
    I mean, what could go wrong?

  11. I didn’t know about the British “Climate Assembly” (and other similar gatherings in Europe) until reading this article.

    It strikes me that the concept is narrower, but similar to “packing” the US Supreme Court – accomplish what certain people and interests want without going through all that messy democracy stuff.

  12. Communitarianism and the Common Purpose Connection
    https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/communitarianism-and-the-common-purpose-connection

    This is where such attacks on modern republican electoral systems originate.

    Mussolini was the most obvious communitarian.
    Today known as Common Purpose in the UK and environs, as Open Society globally, George Soros’ outfit. Cameron’s Big Society was just another expression.
    Communitarianism is actually from British “Catholic” fas-cists such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, both of whom were Mussolini supporters and fervent anti-Semites.

    It is a rush to medieval feudalism.

    • You perpetuate a lie. G K Chesterton was not a fascist at all. If you had read any of his anti-totalitarian writings you would know. Try this one: “Eugenics and other Evils” of 1922. The slur that he was a nazi sympathiser arose by confusing him with a journalist and namesake AK Chesterton who indeed was a leading member of the British Fascist Union. That (deliberate) ‘mistake’ served to discredit his strong opposition against the pseuds of hid day, the eugenicists.

  13. RANDOMLY ASSIGNING CITIZENS to positions of political power has a history stretching back to ancient Greece

    where said citizens would demand that other citizens holding unpopular views drink hemlock. Excellent.

    • I bet dollars to donuts that the random citizens have views that tend to align with what globalists, socialists, and billionaires want.

  14. “RANDOMLY ASSIGNING CITIZENS to positions of political power has a history stretching back to ancient Greece, where the Athenians used the practice to select magistrates and members of their representative Council of Five Hundred”

    Classic appeal to authority. The Greeks did it, so it must be good.

    The Greeks practised slavery too.

    • This is actually a fun game.

      Let me misquote the original article;

      “Preventing women from taking positions of political power has a history stretching back to ancient Greece, where the Athenians used the practice to keep women at home looking pretty and bearing children.”

      See? Athens practiced it, ergo woman should not have the vote. Ancient ‘Greece’ has spoken!

      Also, will people acknowledge that ‘Athens’ was a PART of Ancient Greece, not all of it, and also accept that despite the ‘wonderful’ system of government they used, Athens managed to do some mind numbing acts of military stupidity. (cough – Sicilian Expedition – cough).

      If we really want to play this game we need to also mention that OTHER parts of Ancient Greece used completely different methods of government and political decision making and that Athens often got its butt kicked.

  15. South Africa’s ruling ANC has, by law, to submit every major change in law to “the people” and to get a set of responses. There are a number of organisations, including political parties, which encourage “the people” to participate by electronic voting or e-mail. However, the constitution does not say that the government has to pay any attention at all to the submissions! In fact, for the last pseudo-referendum, they reported the count of the postal votes (while our Post Office was closed for the duration) and said that that was enough. Apparently 300-400 posted votes allowed the government to ignore the 40,000 electronic ones.

  16. ““Citizens assemblies” appear to be becoming popular all over Europe with politicians who want to provide a veneer of democratic legitimacy to a process to push forward unpopular policies. In my opinion this is because politically naive citizens assemblies are much easier to manipulate than genuine representative democracy”

    I think that’s fair to say. In France it was born out of pressure from the Yellow vest protests asking for more Direct Democracy, but what they got instead was a QUANGO, a quasi-autonomous national government organisation, created to advance certain EU directives about AGW. Nobody asked for it.

    Here in France there was never any pretence that the Global Warming theory was to be questioned, they made that very clear, and their mission statement affirmed it.

    “Its mandate is to define a series of measures to achieve a reduction of at least 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990) in a spirit of social justice.”

    Once the selection process had been finalised, the participants underwent several days of scientific training in different subjects concerning AGW. A cynic might conclude that they were being oriented towards predefined solutions. We used to call it brain washing.

    None of their propositions involved increasing Nuclear energy. Most of the rest is about shaming and restrictions on freedom.

    All this to reduce France’s 2% share of Global CO² emissions to 1.2% maybe.

    • Macron stopped the Fesseinem plant (two PWR).

      Because “old”.

      These reactors were very recently upgraded with a core catcher, making them the safest in France!

      • A disastrous decision born of stupifying ignorance, weakness and incompetence.

        As you rightly point out, the acceptance of that decision was sold on the adjective “old”, as if that was a bad thing and the only metric that mattered.

        The fact that the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant was safe, profitable and provided 2000 jobs in the area, and ultimately provided more clean power in one reactor than all of France’s solar put together, didn’t seem to matter.

    • It is good to note it only takes a couple days intensive training to be scientifically educated in AGW
      Explains a lot

  17. Is is possible for a future government to set up a people assembly to cancel the Rule of Law for those who obtained contracts or earned money directly for the government and “buy back” (government term for confiscate) their assets without compensation?

    Asking for a friend.

  18. Seems like a movement that’s all about using democracy to determine what is ‘approved’ science. Seems like a step backwards into the days were religious majorities, not science, ruled the day. In other words, this is mostly about creating a religion, not unlike that of Islam, out of the global baloney movement.

    This religion will set up its’ own set of laws and rules with anyone not willing to bend to the will of the Global Baloneyists and their make beleive set of laws and beliefs shall be infidels barely worth the CO2 they breath out with every breath. What could possibly go wrong?

    The reality is movement of CO2 thru the biosphere is the core of the vitality of life on the planet Earth. Less CO2 means less life. Zero CO2 change means stagnant biodynamics, which are basically impossible to achieve. This is because because entropy (the physical process of randomness) will not put up with any attempt to hold CO2 at some arbitrary human value.

    Translation — Controlling entropy by democratic and/or religious will is a total non-starter for the science of thermodynamics. There is no fooling the science thermodynamics. It’s going to do what it’s going to do…


    Another less complex way to explain the global baloney nonsense is via looking directly at CO2 role in the biosphere.

    The concentration of CO2 in the air has held are relativeliy costant 4 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 air molecules. As such, CO2 is basically a trace molecule that has about the same relevancy as the nuttiest nutjob in all four years of a high school of 2500 teens. And this one nutjob is supposed to be able caffienate up enough to win tug of war against the entire student body. Ain’t happening.

    Meanwhile, the reality is there’s millions of tons of CO2 entering the air every day from all sorts of sources, yet the concentration of CO2 in the air has remained relatively constant 4 per 10,000 molecules. How can this be? To a large extent, this is all about how plants on earth use photosynthesis to capture the trace CO2 molecules floating around the air and combine that with other molecules to make more plant life. Some of these plant life is food for animals and other forms of life on the Earth. It’s be basis for the greening of the earth that is improving crops to feed the world. And much more… More CO2 means more life, more diversity of life. Limiting CO2 means less life, and less diversity of life…

    Yes, there’s also a big chunk of CO2 that is absorbed by the oceans, and some of that also ends up as ocean plant life and more… Some of CO2 in the oceans is sequestered in other forms…

    It’s total folly to think that man can control this process to some arbitrary level. The outcome of such an effort, if even possible to achieve, would be the total disruption of life on earth as we know it with all sorts of very negative outcomes… This is because CO2 is an intimate part of the biosphere of planet earth. The CO2 that is being released from fossil fuels is just another path of CO2 movement in the cycle of life. It’s not bad, rather it’s a good thing that can provide for more life, more diversity of life and more…

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