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The Citizens' Climate Convention: co-creation for climate change mitigation in France

Country

France

Organization

Conseil économique, social et environnemental (CESE)

Initial date

04-10-2019

Final date

21-06-2020

Type of experience

hearigns, forums and assemblies

SDGs

SDG 8 SDG 11 SDG 12 SDG 13

The experience brought together 150 diverse people from all over the country to deliberate and present a package of measures to the government

Objectives

The Citizens' Climate Convention (CCC) has a clear and sole objective: to identify a set of measures in order to achieve at least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels), while maintaining a sense of social justice. The convention is competent to address issues relating to energy renovation of buildings, agriculture, mobility, eco-taxation and "any other type of measures it deems relevant". 

Participants

The members of the CCC were chosen to reflect as closely as possible French society, including people from all regions, socio-economic and age groups, gender and type of territory (urban/rural). The Institut Harris Interactive was tasked with selecting individuals through randomly created phone numbers.

During one month, 300,000 random phone numbers (fixed and mobile) were generated. Once contacted, and after applying the criteria of quotas and availability/willingness to participate, the current 150 members resulted, distributed as follows:

  • Gender: according to the reality of French society, 51% of the members of the Convention are women and 49% are men.

  • Age: 6 age groups have been defined, proportional to the age pyramid from 16 years old.

  • Educational level: 6 levels have been established, to reflect the structure of the French population, with particular attention to the need for a fair presence of non-qualified people.

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  • Socio-professional categories: the CCC reflects the diversity of such categories (workers, employees, managers, etc.) within the French population, including people in extreme poverty.

  • Zone type: based on INSEE's categories, the convention respects the distribution of people according to the type of zone in which they live (large urban centres, inner suburbs, rural communes, etc.). People from priority urban policy neighbourhoods are also present.

 

  • Geographical area: the convention also reflects the distribution of the French population in metropolitan France and the overseas ​territories.

In this section of the official website you can find more details about the selection process and the profile of the 150 people who belong to the convention.

Description

The Convention is the result of the conclusions of the Great National Debate, a proposal by the "Citizens' Vests" collective and the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (EESC), organised by the latter, an independent institution recognised by the constitution. The context in which the Great National Debate took place (January-March 2019) is one of serious social crisis in France, following the "yellow vests" movement, which emerged in November 2018. This movement arose in protest against the so-called tax on domestic consumption of energy products, which causes an increase in fuel prices in an atmosphere of inequality and rising prices of life, which highlights the great social vulnerability of some groups. It is in this context that, after renouncing this measure, the government has promoted this citizen initiative that explicitly emphasizes the social justice of the ecological transition.

Once the people who make up the convention were elected, the process of 7 sessions began, starting in October 2019 and ending in June 2020 with the presentation of the measures. The following is a summary of the sessions that have taken place. Note that the last session (originally planned for April 2020), and therefore the final delivery, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Throughout these months, and always with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of 1990 levels, members discussed the most appropriate measures, often in small groups to facilitate the exchange of ideas. Throughout the process, the members of the CCC were accompanied by experts, without influencing them, and were assisted by lawyers in translating the proposals into appropriate legal terms. Note that for the experts' presentations, people with opposing views are invited, thus ensuring a plurality of views.

The methods used are intended to facilitate collaborative dialogue so that members of the Convention can jointly develop their proposals as part of the deliberations. The aim is not to reach consensus on any proposal, but to bring out informed views that are successively discussed in the working groups and in the Convention as a whole. Minority views or reticence are maintained because they also feed into the arguments. In this section of the website you can find interviews with some members for each of the sessions and in this section you may find all details and resources about the sessions (recordings, reports, etc.) as well as all the supporting documents.

In parallel to the whole deliberation process of "the 150", citizens in general also had a say, trough the proposal of measures that could be included in the final report. To do this, the CCC uses an online platform (based on the open-source software Decidim). During the period between each session, anyone could share their ideas with the public and convention members simply by registering on the platform, within the framework of the five main themes: travel, food, consumption, work and production, accommodation (+ cross-cutting proposals). These themes coincide with the structure of the final report sent to the government. Citizens were free to submit proposals, while organisations had to follow a pre-established format. For each phase (that is, each inter-session period), a synthesis of contributions was made with the help a specialized software, which, after being reviewed by a committee, was sent to "the 150". These proposals are still available in the Contribution section of the CCC website, together with their summaries.

On 18 June 2020 the proposals were made public; on 21 June the final document sent to the government was made available to the public. The CCC agreed, with 95% of the votes in favour, on 149 proposals, organised into the five thematic groups mentioned above. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Development of means of transport other than the private car;

  • Reduction of speed on the motorway (from 130km/h to 110km/h)

  • Limitation of domestic flights;

  • Development of telecommuting;

  • Stricter controls on advertising (banning billboards in public outdoor spaces and banning products with a high carbon footprint, such as certain types of vehicles)

  • Promotion of short circuits and organic food;

  • Increased taxation of highly processed foods;

  • Prohibition of genetically modified seeds;

  • Halving the use of pesticides by 2030;

  • Banning heated terraces or lighting of shops at night.

  • However, the proposal to reduce working time to 28 hours per week (a four-day working week) was rejected by 65% of the participants.

The convention recommends that two of the measures be put to a referendum: the inclusion of the protection of the environment and biodiversity and the fight against climate change in the Constitution (preamble and article 1 of the Constitution); and the introduction into French law of a crime of ecocide to punish the most serious attacks on the environment.

The proposals can be consulted on the special (accessible) site, which is divided into the five major themes:

Here you can check the complete document, which in turn divides the proposals into families and sub-objectives.

The Government will respond publicly to the proposals and publish a provisional timetable for their implementation, after which citizens will be able to formulate a joint and public reaction to the Government's responses. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, advanced on June 29 (one day after the unprecedented victory of the green candidates in the big cities) that most of the measures will be adopted or submitted to a vote in Parliament. Three of the 149 measures he indicated are out of the question: reducing speed on motorways to 110km/h, taxing dividends from major companies and making individual rights dependent on environmental protection. In addition, Macron committed to holding a referendum in 2020 on introducing environmental protection into Article 1 of the constitution.

 

Sources and further information:

Official website of the Citizens' Climate Convention (in French)

Selection of members (in French)

Member interviews (in French)

How the CCC works (in French)

Contribuez Proposals (in French)

Final report (in French)

The digital participatory process that fed into the French Climate Assembly