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Councillors to debate Green call for Sheffield to become first ‘fossil-free city’

Natalie Bennett and Sheffield Green Party with Sheffield Against Fracking

Anti-fracking campaigners in Mosborough with Green Party former leader Natalie Bennett and councillor Magid Magid

Sheffield’s Green councillors are calling on Sheffield City Council to set an ambition of making Sheffield the UK’s first ‘fossil-free city’, and to set an example by pledging not to invest in fossil fuels itself.

At the November 2nd meeting of Sheffield City Council, councillors will fully debate a Green Party motion calling for Sheffield to help tackle dangerous climate change by becoming the first city in the UK in which all major local government, higher / further education, and faith organisations have divested their investments and pension funds from fossil fuels.

The Green motion also calls on Sheffield Council to commit to divesting itself from any investments it currently holds in fossil fuel companies, and to push the £5.5 billion South Yorkshire Pensions Authority to divest its fund from fossil fuels.

Green Councillor Rob Murphy, who proposed the motion, said:

“Investing in fossil fuel companies is a risky proposition for organisations like pension funds that need to be able to pay out to their members for decades to come.”

“When organisations divest, money that is currently invested in fossil fuel companies can instead be put into more positive alternatives – like renewable energy, social housing, and the local economy.”

“Both of the city’s universities have already agreed to divest from fossil fuels, so we are asking Sheffield City Council to join them in setting a positive example to other organisations in the city by making a divestment commitment of its own.”

Fossil fuel divestment is a growing, worldwide movement that has achieved high-profile successes in recent years, with major cities including Oslo, Berlin, Melbourne and Seattle agreeing to divest.  In September 2016, Waltham Forest Borough Council became the first local government pension fund in the UK to make a divestment commitment, pledging to “exclude fossil fuels from the [investment] strategy over the next five years”.

Notes

1.   The full text of the Green motion can be found here:  http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=6353&Ver=4#AI13561

2.   More than 600 organisations worldwide, representing over $3.4 trillion of investments, have made full or partial divestment commitments to date.  A complete list of current divestment commitments can be found here:  http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/

3.   In its 2012 World Energy Outlook report, the International Energy Agency concluded that two-thirds of known fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground if catastrophic climate change with over 2°C of warming is to be avoided.  See http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/weo2012/

4.   Labour-controlled Waltham Forest Borough Council’s Pension Fund Committee made the decision to divest its fund from fossil fuels on September 22nd, 2016 as “in investment terms, fossil fuels are increasingly shown to be stranded assets, in that investing in companies that rely heavily on replenishing reserves of fossil fuels, at a time when the environmental impact is a matter of increasing scrutiny, is seen as risky.”   The meeting agenda, and draft minutes, can be found here: http://democracy.walthamforest.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=29424

Topics: City Wide, Council, Energy, Environment, Featured, Rob Murphy

There are 2 Responses to Councillors to debate Green call for Sheffield to become first ‘fossil-free city’

5th November 2016

We also need proper debate on the future of the city’s library service.

Problems are is lack of statutory library status for the volunteer-run / co-delivered sites, in addition to there being able to take ownership of the book stock currently owned by the council should any of the volunteer groups transfer away from using the council IT system (its in the agreement with the council) Add to that the huge decrease in visits since the staff went. An alternative I clearly needed.

Proposing reduced opening but with council librarians as an alternative to the volunteer led model would be a good start which most library users would prefer, and would enable the council to count the libraries once again as a statutory one, thus offering more protection against change of use (as per Walkley Library pub/library).

I look forward to the Greens taking this issue forward.

    15th November 2016

    Hi anon,

    Thanks for your comment and raising such an important issue. Yes you’re right there has been a decline in the amount of users and we do need to look at how we can best support our libraries to ensure we’re are providing the best service we can. As I’m sure you’re aware currently the libraries are run by some amazing volunteers that should be commended and we need to make sure they have as much support as possible. If you would like to meet up and discuss it further then please get in touch via my email below and we can arrange a date and time to meet.

    Best wishes,

    Cllr Magid
    magid@sheffield.gov.uk

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