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​Germany’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate (Bürgerrat Klima)

Purpose: To encourage more ambitious and effective climate policy to realise Germany’s commitment to the Paris Agreement (limiting the global rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees) by presenting the results to politicians during the 2021 federal election campaign, government coalition negotiations and the formation of the parliament.



BürgerBegehren Klimaschutz (BBK, Citizens’ Climate Protection Initiative) with Scientists for Future, Germany. Patron is the former German President Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler.


The Bürgerrat Klima was tasked with making recommendations for how Germany can fulfill its contribution to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement (limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees, and if possible, to 1.5 degrees), with due consideration to social, economic, and environmental factors.

Commitment to respond

No formal link to the political process. The Assembly was timed to influence pre-election public debate, positioning of parties and coalition negotiations following federal elections.


Scientific Board of Advisors, Civil Society Advisory Board.

Delivery bodies

Ifok GmbH, the Institute for Participatory Design (IPG) and the nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research.

Participant recruitment

160 members recruited through civic lottery by phone, subsequent self-registration and further sortition procedures. Criteria: age, gender, level of education, place of residence (state), size of community, migration background and position on climate change. Hardware, software and training provided. Honorarium of €450.


Twelve meetings between April 26 and June 23, 2021: 8 mid-week evenings (3 hours), 4 Saturday meetings (8 hours).


Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire assembly took place online with the participants logging on from home. In the first three sessions, the full assembly familiarised itself with the topic of climate change and the individual themes to be discussed: mobility, buildings and heating, energy production, food production (meat, milk). Members were randomly divided into 4 theme groups to develop guiding principles and recommend policy measures. Overarching topics such as instruments of transformation and socially-balanced CO2 pricing were also considered. The assembly ended with plenary votes on recommendations.


Active table facilitation.


Zoom. Howspace platform to house information, exchange ideas and document results. Mural to develop recommendations. A studio with a stage setting, camera and sound was used whenever the entire assembly was addressed.

Evidence base

The Scientific Board selected four areas for the focus of deliberations: mobility, buildings and heating, energy production, food production.

Developing recommendations

Recommendations developed in workstreams in small groups. At various points, the workstreams presented proposals to the plenary to ensure constant exchange of ideas. The recommendations were evaluated by the Scientific Board of advisors and feedback was received from participants in other working groups, and, if necessary, were adjusted accordingly.


Plenary votes on recommendations.

Final Report

A summary of the recommendations (in German) was released on June 24 2021 at a press conference – see an English commentary here. The final report was published in Autumn 2021; the English version is available here.


The commissioning organisation, BBK, was responsible for the communication. The website provides basic information and was updated following individual meetings. Parts of the meetings were live-streamed, some recordings are posted on Assembly YouTube Channel. To broaden engagement within civic society and to support the communication work, including contact with politicians, BBK established a ‘support network’ of 86 organizations, from a wide range of sectors. Lobbying and public relations activities are ongoing.

Oversight of official response

BBK, assisted by the participants and supporting NGOs. After the election in September, the Support Network ensured that the results of the Citizens’ Climate Assembly were considered during the negotiations for a new governing coalition.


Positive response from political parties and individual politicians during the election campaign. The coalition treaty reflects many recommendations but leaves open many relevant issues addressed by the Assembly. Lobbying and public relations activities led by BBK continue.


No official evaluation was commissioned. A post-hoc evaluation will be organised based on inputs from the various observers and organizers of the process.searchers were given access to the Convention.


€1.9m for the work of the delivery bodies. The budget is covered by donations and funding from foundations, including, the Schöpflin Foundation, Open Society Foundations, GLS Treuhand and the German Postcode Lottery Foundation. This does not include communication undertaken by BBK and other NGOs during and after the assembly process, for which fundraising is ongoing.

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