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ACAN pledges support to the CEE Bill Alliance

XR Surrey CEE Bill demonstration
Photo courtesy of XR Surrey

For ACAN, the CEE Bill, a Private Members bill seeking to update the 2008 Climate Change Act, is a step towards the systemic change needed to tackle the climate crisis.

The Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill sets out a new Government framework for tackling the climate crisis. Why? Because the current system is not effective. It allows the UK Government to shelve and bypass urgent climate issues and avoid responsibility for the role of the UK as a leader for change due to early industrialisation, colonialism and its massive role in the exporting of carbon emissions.

Currently a Private Members Bill, the CEE Bill has been designed in the hope that lobbying activity around the bill will help create legislative change in advance of COP 26 2021.

Why does ACAN support the CEE Bill?

ACAN recognises the systemic nature of the climate problem – in order to tackle this we need to rewire our political and economic structures. The CEE bill is a great place to start.

We’ve known about the problem of climate change for a long time. Solutions and very detailed proposals on how to address the problem have existed for almost the same time period. What’s really been lacking so far, is political will, and the necessary political mandate in order to achieve the large scale transformation that is needed. This bill seeks to plug that gap.

The emphasis on looking at what is necessary to avoid runaway climate change resonates very well with ACAN’s values. And also making a firm commitment to action to achieve that. This would include not placing undue faith in unproven technologies (which has been a bad habit of politicians since awareness of the climate crisis first emerged). Thirdly the element of accountability, and measuring and tracking progress in an evidence-based and accountable manner is urgently needed.

The expanded democratic mandate for change that the CEE bill is seeking via a citizens assembly is really key. We recognise the cultural roots of this crisis and are seeking a cultural transformation as much as a material one. ACAN itself is attempting to model some of those changes, for example through decentralised organising which has been modelled by other activist groups including XR.


"Solutions for climate change have existed for a long time. What’s lacking is the political will needed to achieve large scale transformation. This bill seeks to plug that gap."

Tom Bennett, ACAN Co-ordinator

Architect at Studio Bark, and environmental activist


What is the CEE Bill?

Key changes that the bill hopes to make:

- New target of global average temperature rise to 1.5 degree celsius

- New citizens’ assembly as important check and balance to the Government

- Recognition of the specific role of the UK in the global climate change fight

Building on the Climate Change Act of 2008

Credit has been given by the designers of the bill to the 2008 Climate Change Act, which was emulated across the world. However, it is now outdated and not ambitious enough for the current emergency.

Power to the people

The proposed new citizens assembly places an important check and balance to the system.

Resetting targets to address urgency

The CEE Bill initiates a framework that will allow the UK to contribute to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. The UN estimates that current policies will contribute to a 3 °C rise, which will open up unacceptable consequences – most likely to be abroad.

Part of this includes recognising that as the first country to industrialise, the role of the UK in tackling climate change is even more urgent than other countries. It recognises how we must take responsibility for its full greenhouse gas footprint, including emissions of imported goods and supply chains for example.

Nature and biodiversity focus

The executive summary of the CEE Bill outlines biodiversity as the ‘steward of our life support systems’. It prioritises the protecting and restoring of the UK’s eco systems with a focus on biodiversity, soils and natural carbon sinks such as peatlands.


“When it comes to the climate crisis, real leadership has been coming from people, not Government. That’s why this bill puts power into the hands of the people.”

Caroline Lucas, politician and campaigner

The Green Party’s first MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, a member of Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee, speaking during a CEE Bill event


Get involved

On 26th March a CEE Bill Alliance banner will be dropped to mark the date when the second reading of the CEE bill would have taken part in parliament – it has been postponed. Please support and share via social media.

Ultimately the climate and ecological crisis affects everyone on this planet. We all have a duty to engage with this, whether we are built environment professionals or not.

Professionals in general are in a privileged position in society and should be using their agency and influence to push for meaningful climate action.

The built environment accounts for a big chunk of current emissions, so is a large part of the problem. Built environment professionals could be part of the solution, but we need a strong political mandate if that’s going to happen. That’s what this bill is all about.

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