Nov. 1, 2020

THE FRENCH CITIZENS ASSEMBLY ON CLIMATE

THE FRENCH CITIZENS ASSEMBLY ON CLIMATE
THE FRENCH CITIZENS ASSEMBLY ON CLIMATENOVEMBER 2ND 2020 Interviews  : Reema Rattan and Vivien LangfordProduction: Andy BrittGuests:Amandine Roggemann -  International Committee for the implementation of citizen recommendations https://www.conventioncitoyennepourleclimat.fr/ Sonia Randhawa - The Coalition of Everyone https://www.coalitionofeveryone.com/ Vincent Liegey - Author  with Anitra Nelson of "Exploring Degrowth". Can we be concerned about the end of the world and forget about justice?The French Citizens Assembly on Climate was a response to turmoil created by the yellow Vest Movement. As one protester said to President Macron " You are concerned with the end of the world, we are concerned about the end of the month". Citizens or Activists?150 citizens representing a cross section of France deliberated for 9 months and presented their recommendations in July 2020. As Amandine Roggemann tells us, they got massive media attention and their government is now  receptive to them. If they email the president of France or of the EU they get a reply straight away. Recently Greenpeace put a huge banner on a crane high above the reconstruction of Notre Dame saying "Climate, Act NOW! " and Amandine praises groups like GP and XR, which keep the pressure up for radical action, but, she says,  the 150 citizens are not activists. They are citizens with a responsibility to be informed and to represent many views. As a result the COVID economic recovery in France implemented many of their recommendations.  Climate action was at the heart of their 100 billion Euro Covid Economic Recovery. That is 30 billion for Ecological transition,9 billion for renewable energy and green hydrogen,7 billion for railways, and6.7 billion to retrofit buildings with insulation.The Prime Minister Jean Castex said " Our goal is clear, to become Europe's first major carbon free economy" Is DEGROWTH the only way to wind back emissions?French Engineer Vincent Liegey is delighted by the  Citizens' results.  Speaking from Budapest, he  says his left wing and degrowth friends were mocking , " How can a bunch of idiots, chosen at random,  solve this problem?" but now they have forgotten their opposition and want to see "degrowth"  embedded in this project. President Macron might have said " Degrowth is not a valid response to the climate challenge" , but Vincent points out that the citizens said they would be happy to live with less. They demanded regulation of advertising that promotes over consumption. They said " We realise that if we do not make up for lost time, many regions of the world will become uninhabitable. "He learned something as the safety manager of a major train station in France. "When there is a catastrophe, slow down and think". He said Europeans were moved by film coverage of the Australian bushfires with kangaroos leaping away and the scale of the damage  unimaginable. He said if we don't want to see these sorts of disasters reported to us every year  our civilization must slow down and think. COVID 19 has given us a taste of slowing down of relocalisation, of gardening and learning about our neighbours. He says unless the global north decreases its economic pillage of the global south they have no chance. We overproduce globally and waste a lot of it while others live a miserable life of not having enough. He thinks that if we had more people participating in the decisions about what we produce we could achieve sufficiency.https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+vincent+liegey&docid=607993818436406252&mid=8C594D83C06E167EEC658C594D83C06E167EEC65&view=detail&FORM=VIRE Have Citizens assemblies been tried in Australia?Dr Sonia Randhawa, in this interview with Reema Rattan, tells us how the "Co alition of Everyone" had its gestation in Extinction Rebellion. One of their key demands is that government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. She explains the process of choosing members for the assembly and how they deliberate. She has shocking examples of how  it can all end up in a loss of publioc trust. However the experience for most members is that it enhances their belief in democracy. She even goes so far as to question political parties that do not represent us. She reminds us of the  need for citizens to become far more engaged and the delight they will find in building up their citizens muscle.