Green councillors are demanding a clear commitment to the city being “zero carbon” by 2030 at the latest, as the world faces a “climate emergency.”
The call comes in a motion to be debated at Wednesday’s Council meeting, which asks the council to declare a “climate emergency.”
The Greens say “business as usual” is not enough and want to see the existing council target of 2050 for action on climate change being brought forward to 2030.
Once this target is set, the Green councillors are calling for a detailed action plan within 6 months on the actions the Council needs to take to meet this new target.
Alison Teal, Councillor for Nether Edge and Sharrow Ward, said,
“There is no issue of greater importance at present than Climate Change. Governments and industry have tried to ignore and deny the science that has alerted us to the dangers for decades. We have 12 short years, if we are lucky, to adapt our way of life. That’s why we are calling on Sheffield City Council, and Parliament, to declare a Climate Emergency.”
Councillor Martin Phipps, who is seconding the motion, said,
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet and to our species. The recent IPCC special report on climate change warns us that we only have 12 years to avoid the worst of it. In line with this, we’re calling upon the council to make a definite commitment to become a carbon neutral city ASAP by bringing forward the council’s current target of 2050 to at latest 2030.
“We need to act urgently, now, and I hope the council supports our motion which calls for a timetable to be drawn up on actions we need to take to achieve our target, and as a first step swapping to a 100% renewable electricity supply.”
Councillor Douglas Johnson added,
“Electricity produced by wind, solar and tidal power is absolutely critical to the country’s energy security and survival and the decision where to purchase the Council’s electricity can make a significant difference to this industry.”
- The Council agenda for Wednesday 6th February 2019 is at http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=7007
- Sheffield Council’s existing Green City Strategy states, “By 2050, Sheffield will be a zero carbon city.”
- The Strategy also states “by 2018, we will produce a ‘Sustainable Energy Action Plan and sign-up to a recognised carbon reporting framework.”
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its major report in October 2018, which can be found at: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
- The Green Party motion is:
A Climate Emergency
Proposed by Cllr Martin Phipps; seconded by Cllr Alison Teal
That this Council:
1. Notes the IPCC’s Special Report, published in October 2018, which describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise in observed global mean surface temperatures above pre-industrial levels is likely to cause, but also tells us that a limit of 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and local government, the private sector and local communities;
2. Notes that carbon emissions result from both production and consumption.
3. Notes that many cities around the world, including Bristol, Nottingham, Brighton, Bradford, Manchester and London, are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this.
4. Notes that this Council has already published a Green City Strategy, which aims to set out a course of ensuring Sheffield is a zero-carbon city by 2050.
5. Believes that cities are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, as they are in many ways easier to decarbonise than rural areas – for example because of their capacity for heat networks and mass transit systems.
6. Believes that local governments are well placed to make the case for climate action to national governments but also believes that local governments should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.
7. Therefore, declares a ‘Climate Emergency’
8. Pledges to bring forward the Council’s existing target to be a zero carbon city from 2050 to 2030.
9. Asks this Administration to make a decisive contribution towards this vital target by ensuring that the forthcoming procurement of the council’s electricity supply is drawn from renewable sources.
10. Directs the Chief Executive to produce a report to Council within six months on the actions the Council needs to take to meet this revised target.
11. Resolves to send a copy of this motion to all Sheffield MPs and the Secretary of State for the Environment.