Climate Action: A Role for Civil Disobedience?

The panel assesses the effectiveness of existing and new methods of public engagement on the issue of climate change.

Members event, Panel Recording
4 July 2019 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM
Chatham House | 10 St James's Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

Numerous opinion polls around the world point to a long-term rise in public concern about climate change and the prioritization of climate action by governments. In spite of this ever-growing public awareness of the urgency of climate action, environmental scientists and activists have struggled to motivate the wider public, policymakers and corporations to push through the disruptive and ambitious policies needed to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.

In recent months however, a new sense of urgency has been injected into the environmental debate by movements including the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ in London and the ‘Youth For Climate’ strikes internationally.

  • Do acts of civil disobedience, like those carried out by the Extinction Rebellion, mark a turning point in environmental activism or do they serve to alienate large swathes of the population?

  • To what extent is it necessary to find ways to mobilize the public which unify, rather than divide, citizens across class and partisan lines?

  • And what is the role of other lower-profile methods of public engagement, such as citizens assemblies, in helping to create meaningful and long-lasting change?


Daze Aghaji, Climate Activist; Climate and Ecological Emergency Independents

Dr Sam Geall, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Department, Chatham House; Editor,

Farhana Yamin, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Department, Chatham House; Climate Change Lawyer; Extinction Rebellion Activist

Chair: Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, The Guardian

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