Assembly For climate Action
Citizens from all over Austria, 6 weekends, 1 goal: a climate-healthy Austria by 2040.
What is the Climate Assembly?
What do we have to do today in order to live in a climate-healthy future tomorrow? Around one hundred randomly selected citizens from all regions and all parts of Austrian society will grapple with this question. Together, they make up the Climate Assembly. As a microcosm of Austria, they will come up with measures to help actively shape the climate future of our country.
The citizens in the Climate Assembly will meet on six weekends to develop answers to central questions for the future: How do we want to meet our mobility needs? Where will we get our energy from? What should we focus on when it comes to our food in order to also protect our planet? The Climate Assembly will allow the people to show policymakers the way. The members of the assembly will be supported by scientists from various disciplines, who will contribute their expertise regarding the current state of research.
The results will be presented to the federal government in mid-2022. The goal is a climate-healthy Austria – and thus climate neutrality – by 2040.
The Austrian Climate Assembly is not the only one of its kind in Europe, by the way: Citizens in many other countries – including in Germany in the spring of 2021, for example – have come together to discuss climate measures.
How the Climate Assembly project came into being
The Climate Assembly was born out of the petition for a referendum on climate change in June 2020, which was supported by nearly 400,000 people. One of the core demands was to allow the Austrian people to actively participate in shaping climate protection measures. In March 2021, the National Council asked the federal government to implement the demands of the petition for a referendum on climate change – and the Climate Assembly was born.
There are many arguments in favour of a strong citizen climate assembly. Because in order to meet the defined targets, we urgently need extensive measures that are supported by everyone. Active participation by the population is essential here.
Scientific basis and independent status support the process
One crucial factor for the independent work of the Climate Assembly is thorough scientific guidance. With this in mind, climate researcher Georg Kaser and environmental economist Birgit Bednar-Friedl have put together a 15-member scientific advisory board for the Climate Assembly that includes scientists from a wide range of disciplines.
Independence is the highest priority for the Climate Assembly. Therefore, in addition to the scientific advisory board, an advisory committee was created with representatives from the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the Chamber of Labour, the Austrian Trade Union Federation, the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, the Federation of Austrian Industries, the Klimavolksbegehren (initiators of the petition for a referendum on climate change), the Austrian National Youth Council, Ökobüro (Alliance of the Austrian Environmental Movement), the Umweltdachverband (Austrian environmental umbrella organisation), the Austrian Anti Poverty Network, and Global Responsibility. This ensures that different perspectives will be taken into consideration in the debate on climate change.
How is the Climate Assembly structured and how were its members selected?
The Climate Assembly starts with100 people whose primary residence has been in Austria for at least five years. They all must be at least 16 years old and represent a cross-section of Austrian society in terms of gender, age, level of education, income, and place of residence.
The people were selected by Statistics Austria using a random sample. In September 2021, the people who were selected received an information letter and were thus given the opportunity to register for the Climate Assembly. Following the analysis of a questionnaire, Statistics Austria finally selected 100 participants and 20 reserves from all of the registered people.
When and where will the meetings of the Climate Assembly be held?
The meetings of the Climate Assembly will take place on the following six weekends:
- 15–16 January 2022 / Vienna
- 26–27 February 2022 / Salzburg
- 26–27 March 2022 / Vienna
- 23–24 April 2022 / Salzburg
- 14–15 May 2022 / Vienna
- 11–12 June 2022 / Salzburg
Can I participate even if I was not selected?
Yes, you too can be part of the process in the spring of 2022! This will be made possible by an online public participation forum: Interim results of the Climate Assembly can be discussed with interested parties here and enriched with valuable local knowledge. The details will be announced in due time.