This is a letter by Logan Robin, Walkley Ward candidate for Sheffield Green Party
The connections between many Sheffielders and loved ones in Ukraine has made the outbreak of war all the more tragic. Like many, I’ve followed developments in the news, but also in text messages with friends out there. One of my friends fled Kharkiv only a few days ago, after over a week of shelling from Russian armed forces. It’s wonderful that people across Sheffield have worked to help Ukrainians, collecting for aid, raising funds, offering shelter for refugees.
Another thing that we can do is turn down the amount of gas we use, which turns down Putin’s cashflow for invasions. Individually, we can set the thermostat lower and switch to energy suppliers who don’t use gas-fired power stations. But most important are the actions we need to take together.
To cut their own dependency on Russian gas, Germany has set an ambition for being renewable powered by 2035. We can show the same ambition in Sheffield and the UK. The first step is to make sure that any firms profiteering from high energy prices are taxed fairly. The second step is using those windfall taxes to help people suffering from fuel poverty, including by properly insulating homes. The third step is to get energy to heat our homes from renewables. People have raised fracking and nuclear energy as alternatives, but those take at least a decade to get going. Renewables work right now. Sadly, the UK has been heading in the wrong direction. Employment in the renewable energy economy fell by about 28,000 jobs since 2014 along with a massive fall in home insulation. We need to turn it round. If Germany can wean themselves off gas then so can we.
Sheffield Greens are pushing in Council for super insulated homes to guarantee low energy bills. The ‘Energiesprong’ scheme has run successfully in other areas, rapidly fits new insulated wall and roof sections, complete with solar panels and triple glazing, to give a warm, comfortable home with virtually no heating bill. We need these measures now more than ever. We need to have the ambition to tackle the climate crisis, create jobs, and cut bills. That will stop money flowing from our pockets into those of Vladimir Putin and other profiteers and tyrants. Now is the time to turn down the gas.
Walkley Ward candidate for Sheffield Green Party