Extinction Rebellion is an international apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
We have three demands in the UK:
Tell the truth
Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
- What is a Citizen’s Assembly?
Citizens’ Assemblies are innovative processes that can empower people, communities and entire countries to make important decisions in a way that is fair and deeply democratic.
The Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice will bring together ordinary people to investigate, discuss and make recommendations on how to respond to the climate emergency. Similar to jury service, members will be randomly selected from across the country. The process will be designed to ensure that the Assembly reflects the whole country in terms of characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography. Assembly members will hear balanced information from experts and those most affected by the emergency. Members will speak openly and honestly in small groups with the aid of professional facilitators. Together they will work through their differences and draft and vote on recommendations.
The Citizens’ Assembly will be run by non-governmental organisations under independent oversight. This is the fairest and most powerful way to cut through party politics. It will empower citizens to actually work together and take responsibility for our climate and ecological emergency.
This isn’t pie in the sky – it’s proven practice. Citizens’ Assemblies around the world have shown that ordinary people can understand complex information, weigh the options, and make informed choices. Examples include Ireland, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Poland.
Citizens’ Assemblies are used to address important issues that electoral politics can’t fix on its own. In recent years, Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly broke the deadlock on two controversial issues: same-sex marriage and abortion. The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly informed public debate and provided politicians cover to make the necessary changes. A subsequent Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change produced a series of recommendations that were incorporated into the Irish government’s action plan.
Even the UK Parliament has experimented with Citizens’ Assemblies. For example, the Citizens’ Assembly on Social Care worked with House of Commons Select Committees, and three similar projects are currently running as part of the Innovation in Democracy initiative.
- Why is Extinction Rebellion demanding a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice?
This is an emergency. The challenges are big, wide-ranging and complex. And solutions are needed urgently.
Extinction Rebellion believes that part of the problem is the way electoral politics works:
- Political power in the UK is in the hands of a few elected politicians. Over the last 40 years, this system has proved incapable of making the long-term decisions needed to deal with the climate and ecological emergency. Politicians simply can’t see past the next election.
- Members of parliament are lobbied by powerful corporations, seek sympathetic media coverage, and calculate their policies based on potential public reactions and opinion polls. This leaves many of them either unable or unwilling to make the bold changes necessary to address the emergency.
- Opinion polls often gather knee-jerk reactions to loaded questions. They do not allow respondents to become informed or engage with others with different perspectives. For an issue as complex as the climate and ecological emergency, opinion polling won’t cut it.
Here is how a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice can break the deadlock:
- A Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice will empower citizens to take the lead and politicians to follow with less fear of political backlash.
- Citizens’ Assemblies are fair and transparent. Assembly members have an equal chance of being heard. Briefing materials, experts, and other presenters are vetted by diverse stakeholders and shared publicly. This produces informed democratic decisions.
- Citizens’ Assemblies are especially useful when difficult trade-offs are necessary. For example, experts might propose policies for how to meet a 2025 target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and the Assembly could decide which they prefer. They would also consider how to mitigate the impacts of changes on the most vulnerable people.
Short film about Citizens’ Assemblies
In “The Deliberate Rebellion” by All Hands On, we explain why we need a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice.Watch the deliberate rebellion online Find out more on our Citizens’ Assembly page
Three Demands Bill
The Climate and Ecological Emergency (Declaration, Emissions Target and Citizens’ Assembly) Bill contains Extinction Rebellion’s Three Demands. That’s why we’re calling it the Three Demands Bill. If enacted, these will become law. The Government will declare a climate and ecological emergency, specify a 2025 target date and will establish a Citizens’ Assembly to determine the wide-ranging policy changes needed to transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions and halt the extinction of species.
The current draft of the Bill has been put together by a number of XR working groups around the country and in consultation with the campaign group Power for People. We are currently contacting various MPs in order to get it introduced in Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill.
The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is a living document that will be continually edited and updated. You’ll always find the latest version on this page.Read the draft Three Demands Bill
What is a bill?
A Bill is a proposal for a new law, or a change to an existing law that is presented for debate before Parliament. A Bill must be passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It is then given Royal Assent and becomes an Act of Parliament – i.e. it enters into law. Taking a Bill through Parliament is a lengthy process – the 2008 Climate Change Act took three years! But we obviously need to get the Three Demands Bill through in a fraction of that time…
The Three Demands Bill will be presented as a Private Member’s Bill – these are Bills that are not part of the government’s planned legislation and are introduced by MPs who are not cabinet ministers, which is why it is generally a lot harder to get these Bills passed.
- There can be 12 names on the Bill itself, with further MPs declaring their support.
- A simple majority of MPs present (or peers in the House of Lords) need to vote in favour of the Bill in order for it to be passed.
We need to get as many MPs as possible to back the Three Demands Bill – as more MPs back the Bill, the pressure grows on Government to give it parliamentary time and pass it.
What can I do?
If you know that your MP is going to vote for the Bill then please be hugely supportive of them!
For MPs who haven’t publicly stated their support for the Bill, XR rebels and supporters can act in a number of ways:
- Lobby your MP at their constituency office
As a constituent you can phone your MP’s office and ask for a meeting – most MPs hold surgeries on a Friday in their local office. At the meeting, show them the Bill and ask them to add their name to its supporters. Keep doing this, every week.
- Carry out non-violent direct action in your constituency
As a constituent you can phone your MP’s office and ask for a meeting – most MPs hold surgeries on a Friday in their local office. At the meeting, show them the bill and ask them to add their name to its supporters. Keep doing this, every week.
Here are just some suggestions for non-violent direct action (NVDA) to get your MP to ‘Sign the Three Demands Bill’.
- Go to the advertised meetings your MP is attending or holding and ask them to sign the Bill. Take signs, placards etc.
- Occupy or chant during meetings
- Blockading / sit-downs / swarming outside symbolic buildings, meetings, or your MP’s office
- Vigil / camp / short hunger strike with participants outside symbolic buildings or MP’s office
- Naked protests
- Glueing / locking onto the door of the building.
Many of these tactics can start small and then escalate: an occupation, for example, can last five minutes or several weeks.
- Mobilise local support
Hold people’s assemblies and public meetings. You can organise two-minute testimonies on why the Bill is needed – these can be used these to recruit people for further direct actions.
- Use social media and press
Facebook, Twitter, email: whatever your MP uses, get in touch with them direct urging them to sign the Bill – and let others know what you are doing! Also contact your local press or ring up your local radio station and call on your MP to sign the Bill on air. Use the hashtag: #ThreeDemandsBill.
- Campaign at Westminster
As a constituent you have a right to go to Westminster and ask to see your MP. You do not need to make an appointment, although it is advisable that you do.
- Go on a Tuesday or Wednesday as they will be most likely to be present on these days.
- Go to the main entrance of the Palace of Westminster and pass through security – if asked, say you want to go to the Central Lobby to lobby your MP.
- When you get to the Central Lobby, ask at the office for a Green Card and fill this in.
- Your MP will be told you are there.
- When your MP arrives, give them a copy of the Bill and ask them to add their name to the list of supporters.
- Help the Bill through parliament
After a Bill has been introduced to Parliament, most Bills will go through the same set of stages in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they can become law. During some of the stages there are different possible actions you can take to help it reach the next stage.
- First Reading – this is the formal introduction of a Bill to Parliament. The long title of the Bill is read out, but no amendments can be put forward.
- Second Reading – this is usually at least two weekends after the first reading and is the first time MPs and Peers are able to debate the main principles of the Bill. No amendments can be made to the Bill at this stage. At the end of the debate, MPs vote on whether the Bill should proceed to the next stage. Action: Ask your MP to express their support for the Bill during the debate, and vote in favour of the Bill at the end of the debate.
- Committee stage – this is a detailed examination of the Bill, usually by the Public Bill Committee. It normally starts within a couple of weeks of the Second Reading stage. During this stage, amendments can be proposed by MPs; and every clause in the Bill will be considered and either agreed to, changed or removed from the bill. The committee is also able to take evidence from experts and special interest groups. Action: Submit evidence supporting the Bill directly to the Public Bill Committee. This could cover, for example, climate science in support of the 2025 target or arguments for how a Citizens’ Assembly is needed to address the emergency.
- Report stage, Third reading and Later stages – Track the progress of the Bill through parliament, read transcripts of the debate and view the most up-to-date version of the Bill.
- Get national support
Ask any other groups, unions and associations you are a member of to ‘Support the Three Demands Bill’. The Bill will be presented by cross-party MPs and XR will lobby for it to be passed, but it’s not an ‘XR Bill’ in itself so other groups who might not be in favour of NVDA can feel comfortable supporting the Bill.
- Three Demands Bill flyer
- Download the Three Demands Bill Flyer