A GROUP of 50 randomly chosen Oxford residents have shared what they believe the city should do to tackle climate change and say it is 'realistic' to go faster than the Government's 2050 carbon neutral target.

The second and final meeting of Oxford’s Citizens Assembly on Climate Change took place this weekend and brought together people of different ages and ethnicities selected to broadly match the demographics of the city and create a ‘mini public’.

Oxford Mail:

Having spent the first session on September 28 and 29 listening to experts on transport, waste reduction, renewable energy, biodiversity and buildings, this time the assembly discussed each subject area and voted on potential actions.

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The benefits and trade-offs of measures for each topic were looked at in groups, with three scenarios put before them.

People were then able to place five red and five blue stickers next the aspects they liked and did not like, with these results recorded.

Oxford Mail:

The guiding question of the assembly was whether Oxford should go quicker than the Government's target to be ‘net zero’ for carbon by 2050.

At the end of the two-day meeting the group was asked to vote and the majority, 72 per cent, agreed to set a more ambitious goal.

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Moderator Ella Fryer-Smith, giving feedback from her group, said: "The feeling really was that having been involved in these two weekends, it feels possible. It feels tangible and realistic."

Assembly members encouraged Oxford City Council, which set up the citizens assembly following the authority declaring a climate emergency in January, to make sure any measures taken were properly communicated to people.

Oxford Mail:

Philosophy student Caspar Jacobs, said the experience of being an assembly member had been ‘very positive’ and was giving ‘power to the people’.

The 24-year-old, who lives off Cowley Road, added: “It’s been good discussing the topics with different people I wouldn’t usually speak with, rather than just other students."

Philip Walden, from Headington, said the assembly had been a ‘pleasure’ but said: “I have been disappointed by my own lack of ambition.”

The 59-year-old added: “If it it down to the sort of people in this room I am feeling very positive.

“I think Oxford is right to think we can show some leadership in this area.”

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Councillor Tom Hayes, cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford, said he had been impressed with how well the assembly had worked, adding: “It’s the real ambition for taking on the issue and really open way people are discussing what is a really complicated and thorny topic.”

Ultimately, the aim of the citizens assembly is to bring together a number of recommendations for Oxford City Council to take forward and put to full council in January 2020 to adopt and develop.

To find out more about the citizens assembly and for updates on the results visit oxford.gov.uk.