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Britain's first ‘citizen's assembly’ recommends frequent fliers should pay more to travel

PEOPLE who fly further and more often should pay more to travel around the globe, Britain’s first “citizen’s assembly” on climate change has recommended.  

The call is part of a roadmap to reaching net-zero carbon by 2050 put forward by Climate Assembly UK in its final report, published today.

Recommendations also include a ban on sales of new gas boilers and new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030-35. 

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six parliamentary committees with the aim of giving communities a say on how Britain can meet its legal goal to cut emissions to net zero by 2050. 

The group of 108 members —- representative of Britain’s demographic make-up and with differing views on climate change — stressed that the shift to net zero must be fair and allow freedom of choice where possible. 

The report states that shifts to tackle climate change should “follow the principle that the polluters pay.” 

Assembly members also stressed the importance for the government to “forge a cross-party consensus” on the issue and not use it for “scoring party-political points.”

Assembly member Sue, from Bath, said: “Even in a year like this, with the country and economy still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that the majority of us feel prioritising net-zero policy is not only important but achievable too.

“Our report takes into account the wide range of views in the UK and represents a realistic and fair path to net-zero.”

The assembly has made recommendations in areas including in the home, travel on land an by air, what we eat and how we use land, what we buy, electricity sources and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Eighty per cent of assembly members agreed or strongly agreed that taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further should be part of how Britain gets to net-zero.

Business, energy and industrial strategy select committee chairman Darren Jones said: “This is an extremely important contribution to the debate on how the UK reaches our net-zero target and I hope it gives impetus to policy-makers to take bold action to reduce our emissions.”

The committee on climate change, an independent advisory to the government, identified that a net-zero target by 2050 would give a 50-50 chance of avoiding 1.5° of warming. 

Campaign groups have argued that these odds are not good enough –1.5 degrees of warming would result in the submersion of island nations. 

However, assembly members did not agree with moving the target to an earlier date. 

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