Labour Councillors declare a climate emergency and bring forward target for Sheffield becoming carbon neutral

Sheffield Labour Councillors have set out plans to bring forward the target for making Sheffield a carbon neutral city. Currently the Council’s target is to make Sheffield carbon neural by 2050, a target which was initially seen as very ambitious.

However, following a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which detailed the catastrophic consequences of global warming above 1.5c, Labour councillors are now declaring that we are facing a “climate emergency” and as such have called for the most ambitious plan possible to ensure Sheffield is doing everything possible to tackle dangerous manmade climate change.

Declaring a “Climate Emergency” is a growing trend across the world, with more cities making this decisive announcement to highlight the threat of climate change and the importance of taking real action to avoid its catastrophic effects.

Sheffield is now the largest city in the UK to declare a Climate Emergency.

Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Development Jack Scott:

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the future of the human race relies on us taking bold action on climate change, so I am delighted that Sheffield is boldly leading the way here. It is absolutely right that we declare an urgent climate emergency and put pressure on the government and other cities to recognise the dire situation we are facing.

“But we are proposing far more than just calling on others to act. Labour want to ensure that as a council and as a whole city we are doing everything we can to limit reduce carbon emissions and limit manmade climate change.

“Global warming is one of the most serious issues of the 21st century. We are facing a climate catastrophe if we don’t act. But as the IPCC report makes crystal clear – the time to act is still now. We are not too late – yet. I don’t want people to feel a hopeless inevitability about climate change. We all have the power to do our bit to reduce Sheffield’s carbon emissions.

“The council already has a plan to become carbon neutral by 2050 and while this is excellent, Labour wants to be more ambitious still. This is why we will be working with partners across the city to look at how we can bring this target forward by years, if not decades. I also want other Political Parties to help with this, which is why I’m asking for opposition Councillors to feed into this through the council’s scrutiny process”.

Welcoming this move Jenny Carpenter (Co-chair of Sheffield Climate Alliance) said:

“We are delighted that Sheffield City Council has listened to us and is now looking to take the bold step of announcing a Climate Emergency. We can all be proud that Sheffield is now the largest council to move forward in this way. We urge all Councillors to vote in favour of this important declaration and send a clear signal about the importance of tackling climate change.

“It’s positive that the Council is also aiming to bring forward the target date for becoming a carbon neutral city. Sheffield Climate Alliance is keen to work with the Council on this to make sure we have a more ambitious target and then develop a really good action plan to ensure we achieve it.”

ENDS

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Note to editors

Labour Group Motion for Full Council – 06 February 2019 –

Declaring a Climate Emergency

Proposed by Councillor Jack Scott
Seconded by Councillor Michelle Cook

That this Council:-

(a) believes that climate change and sustainability are amongst the biggest issues of the 21st century and the effects of manmade and dangerous climate change are already manifestly occurring;

(b) notes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) detail that we are already seeing the consequences of a 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other worrying changes;

(c) notes that this Administration has previously categorised climate change as the biggest social justice issue of this century which requires bold, radical action, and last year implemented the Green City Strategy – setting the goal of becoming a zero carbon city by 2050, showing our city’s commitment towards making our contribution towards the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement;

(d) recognises the critical role that cities have to play in delivering a zero carbon future and that whilst the present Government have, in this Council’s opinion, been woefully inadequate at rising to the scale of the climate change challenge, city leaders can take innovative solutions to address many of the causes and impact of climate change on a systemic level;

(e) recalls that the city has already undertaken a number of innovative and bold initiatives that are aimed at reducing our impact on the climate and reducing our city’s carbon emissions, but recognises that limiting global warming cannot be achieved by a single organisation or a technological silver bullet, and requires changes to how we all live, work and play and believes every citizen has a role to play in securing a climate safe future;

(f) further notes that, in recognition of this, the Administration established a Green City Partnership Board, with representation from key city stakeholders including our universities, the private sector and community and voluntary organisations, including the Sheffield Climate Alliance, with the agreed purpose of ensuring that Sheffield can achieve the Green City Strategy objectives and deliver a low carbon, resilient and sustainable city;

(g) notes that, over the period 2013/14 to 2016/17, the Council has reduced its annual CO2 emissions by 19%, and that this Administration has also initiated schemes to reduce carbon emissions throughout the city, such as:-

(i) as a landlord with over 40,000 homes, Sheffield City Council has invested in improving the fabric and insulation of our homes and installed high-efficiency gas central heating boilers in the majority of homes, and as a result, our homes have increased their SAP11 (Standard Assessment Procedure) energy rating from 64 out of 100 in 2005 to 71 in 2016-17;

(ii) use of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles as part of its vehicle fleet since 2017, noting that the vehicles use the wind powered mini-grid hydrogen refuelling station at the Advanced Manufacturing Park;

(iii) continued development of the district heat network, turning local waste into electricity and heat for the city, with up to 45MW of heat produced and supplied to over 140 buildings connected to the District Energy Network; in addition, the facility generates up to 21 MW of electricity to the National Grid, which is enough to power 25,000 homes;

(iv) using new technology where available, including 66,800 new LED streetlights;

(v) our Ethical Procurement approach ensures that the Council’s suppliers do everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint;

(vi) as well as reducing carbon, we are committed to improving the city’s air – we are looking at implementing a Clean Air Zone in the city centre, tackling the most polluting vehicles, and we are the first large city to introduce anti-idling measures to stop people leaving their engines running outside schools; and

(vii) our transport strategy is seeking to make sustainable modes of transport the number one choice for people in Sheffield;

(h) notes that the IPCC report identifies cities as one of four critical global systems that can accelerate and upscale climate action, but recognises this will require major transitions in how both mitigation and adaptation are undertaken and, therefore, we need to consider the opportunities the city has to deliver on a revised commitment, as there is only a limited advantage to be gained in setting a target without clear deliverable actions that will enable us as a city to achieve this;

(i) believes that, as a city, we have made considerable progress in carbon reduction but we need to go further still in light of the IPCC’s special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018, which confirmed the catastrophic consequences of manmade climate change and urgent need to act;

(j) therefore declares unequivocally that our city, country and planet are facing a CLIMATE EMERGENCY;

(k) notes that as a result of this call for action, the Green City Partnership Board will be exploring how Sheffield should respond to the IPCC report, both in terms of actions as well as reviewing our existing commitment to become a zero carbon city by 2050; and

(l) supports this Administration’s commitment to report back to Full Council within 6 months, with a more ambitious date for the city to become zero carbon, accompanied by an action plan setting out the required work to deliver a new goal through all relevant strategies and plans, and would entirely and actively welcome the involvement of the cross-party scrutiny system in shaping and overseeing this vital work.

Sheffield’s Labour Council Condemns “Dangerous and Reckless” Fracking Approval in Nearby Community

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Sheffield City Council has reacted with anger and disappointment at today’s announcement that fracking will be allowed in North East Derbyshire, which borders Sheffield.
 
The Council has formally objected to the application and has led the way in opposing shale gas extraction.
 
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council said:
 
“I am furious and dismayed at this decision. Let’s be clear here – fracking is dirty, dangerous and reckless and should not be happening in North East Derbyshire, Sheffield or anywhere else. It risks causing earthquakes, polluting our water and damaging our area’s beautiful countryside. I have asked our Planning Team to undertake an urgent assessment of the risks that will arise for Sheffield from today’s dangerous decision.
 
Even if fracking could be undertaken safely, which it can’t, it is still a grubby fossil fuel. These are causing catastrophic climate change and rapid global burning. We have already found more carbon than we can safely burn, so we certainly don’t want any more.
 
Instead, we need a revolution in renewable energy generation and a fair transition to a more sustainable way of living that protects our environment for future generations. The UK’s planning policies need to reflect this, not make it easier for a few big-boss fat cats to pile up even more money by raiding and pillaging our precious environment.”
 
Councillor Scott continued:
 
“It’s at times like this that the public look to elected representatives for clear leadership, not weasel words. I am disgusted with the actions of the local Tory MP, Lee Rowley, who isn’t anti-fracking and supports the Conservative government’s approach. North East Derbyshire deserves better. It’s clear we need a Labour government to ban fracking altogether and put in place the rules that will protect our environment for the many, not the few.”
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Response to Government’s Latest Fracking Announcement

 

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Central government today announced measures to support the development of British Shale Gas through local planning systems.

Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet for Development and Transport, Councillor Jack Scott, responded by saying: 

“We need a revolution in renewable energy, not more dirty fossil fuels.

But today it is clear that the government wants to press on with a reckless dash for gas, regardless of evidence, public opinion or the impacts on local communities.

This approach is an unwelcome mix of caving into the fracking industry and ploughing ahead with existing plans for fracking regardless of local views.

Despite their empty words about local consultation, the government is setting a dangerous precedent in taking away local decision making on planning decisions, and putting it in the hands of Tory ministers. This could see fracking unfairly imposed on areas against the will of local communities.

Labour has repeatedly made it clear we believe local communities do not want fracking in their area and we will continue to support our communities working to resist the unwanted advances of fracking companies, motivated purely by the huge profits they will make and not the legacy they will leave.”

City Council Launches Ambitious “Sheffield Green City”

Sheffield has begun the journey to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050 with the launch of its bold new Green City strategy with an ambitious six-point plan and launch of a new partnership to tackle the issues.

The report, set to be endorsed by the Council’s cabinet tomorrow, aims to reduce the city’s impact on the climate by becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050, taking steps to move to a low-carbon economy immediately.

It also sets out plans to empower communities, residents, public sector and businesses to become resilient to climate change and ensure the city’s homes and businesses use sustainable and affordable energy.

It will enable modern, reliable and clean journeys for everyone, ensure air is clean for all and create a green and innovative economy by supporting Sheffield businesses to become more energy efficient and delivering new low-carbon jobs for local people.

Green City Sheffield builds upon the ground breaking work of the Sheffield Green Commission. Sheffield City Council has already been leading the way to becoming a low-carbon economy.

Sheffield is testing the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles outside of London and is the first large city to introduce anti-idling measures to stop people leaving their engines running outside schools. As a further sign of its commitment, the Council has also introduced the UK’s largest dockless bike sharing scheme.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Our Green City is a deliberately ambitious and far-reaching plan, with big implications for how we live and work in Sheffield. We believe this is the clearest, boldest and most developed plan of anywhere in Britain.

“It clearly sets out the changes we need to make to be prepared for challenges like more extreme and unpredictable weather, as well as the investments and opportunities that will help to improve our health, clear our air, make our city easier to get around and make our energy more affordable for everyone.

“I am very clear that man-made climate change is the biggest social justice issue of this century and requires bold, radical action. This plans sets out how we will respond to this huge challenge and enhance and protect Sheffield’s environment for everyone.”

Sheffield was one of the first cities in the UK to introduce district heating and implement clean air powers in the 1970s and private sector investment has created a further two biomass-powered decentralised energy plants in the city.

 

Councillor Scott said:

“We have a great track-record of delivery and we need to work collectively to achieve our ambitious goals.

“I absolutely recognise that the transition to a low carbon economy will not always be easy, and will involve difficult choices at times. But this is about doing the right thing for people across our city, in order to create a fairer city, as the effects of climate change are not just environmental or economic.

“At its heart, man-made climate change is a social justice issue that especially affects people who are less-well-off.

“We want to enable all Sheffielders, businesses, institutions and organisations to play a role developing and delivering the solutions that will take Sheffield towards a zero carbon future.

“This is a bold, ambitious and credible plan for our great city that will help us to create and protect an environment that everyone can enjoy. We all know there has been a huge amount of debate and discussion over street trees on both sides.

“But we will only be able to build a fairer city if we focus on other broader environmental issues like decarbonisation, energy generation and the green-collar jobs of the future. This plan shows how we will do that.

“This plan gives us the tools we need to achieve our vision for Sheffield, where everyone breathes clean air, can access reliable, clean transport, feels safe and secure from the threats posed by man-made climate change and has access to affordable, sustainable energy to heat and power their homes and businesses.”

During 2015 Sheffield City Council facilitated the city’s first Green Commission. This independent commission was made up of key leaders and stakeholders from across the city, including business, industry, our universities, the public sector and the voluntary and community sector.

The final report of the Sheffield Green Commission – Sheffield’s Green Commitment – was published in 2016, and set out a vision for how, working together as a city, Sheffield could become a smarter, more sustainable, more competitive ‘future city’.

The Green City strategy will initially result in a city–wide Sustainable Energy Action Plan and signing-up to a recognised carbon reporting framework.

By 2020, the Council will have achieved a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, and, in the next seven years, the Council and its partners will have substantially increased the level of low carbon and renewable energy generation in the city

By 2030, a majority of the city’s energy will be supplied from low carbon and renewable technologies, with work already being progressed to determine how the Council can use its own assets to generate renewable energy, and develop its existing energy networks.

The council will also launch a debate around how the city can adopt and stay within an agreed carbon budget, that enables Sheffield to deliver its share of the Paris Agreement; this will limit average temperature increases to well-below 2 degrees Celsius, and will have the aim of ensuring Sheffield becomes a zero carbon city by 2050.

To view the report, click here.

Sheffield’s Labour Council Blasts Government’s “weak, vague and feeble” Sustainability Plan and commits itself to real action

 

 

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*** IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

Sheffield’s Labour Council Blasts Government’s “weak, vague and feeble” Sustainability Plan and commits itself to real action

12 January

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s new 25 Year Sustainability Strategy, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Councillor Jack Scott said:

“Just like the Tory government itself, these announcements are weak, vague and feeble. This is a huge missed opportunity to create the greener and more sustainable Britain that we all need. The plan has been slammed by dozens of environmental groups. Michael Gove’s refusal to listen to experts is costing us all dearly.

“It’s ridiculous to have a plan spanning 25 years. A 25 month plan is needed, with real action, vision and tough laws to make it a reality. The lack of timely action is especially concerning in light of the Tories’ turbo-charged Brexit, which will stop the UK having the benefit of the many environmental protections, targets and regulations that help to keep us safe.

“Most concerning of all is the lack of real action. There are no new laws planned and many of these announcements, such as on air quality or climate change, are simply repeating and repackaging previous announcements. We absolutely need to increase recycling rates, but this shouldn’t extend to rehashing government statements and then pretending they are new. Britain deserves a government that will nurture and cherish our green and beautiful island, not this threadbare bodge job.

“The Labour Council in Sheffield takes this issue seriously, even if the government doesn’t. So I’m pleased that next month the Council’s Cabinet will consider a “Green City Strategy”, with the concrete action we need to forge a cleaner, greener and brighter future for our great city.”

Many environmental groups have also criticised the Government’s announcements:

Greenpeace UK’s Executive Director John Sauven said:

“If Theresa May wants to persuade people this is more than just husky-hugging, she needs to put some joined-up thinking at the heart of her strategy. You can’t claim to care about climate change and our countryside and then back fracking, or care about the next generation and then let air pollution harm our kids’ health.

“The environment is now a mainstream concern in this country, with millions of people caring deeply about it. Theresa May has a unique opportunity to rise to the challenge and make Britain a global leader in environmental protection. She should not waste it.”

Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett said:

“A long-term vision for protecting our environment is essential, but the Government can’t keep turning a blind eye to the urgent action needed now to protect our health and planet from toxic air and climate-wrecking pollution.

It’s time to stop tinkering at the margins and get to the heart of the problems – especially the nation’s fossil fuels addiction. Ministers must pull the plug on coal, gas and oil, end its support for fracking and develop the UK’s huge renewable power potential.

25 years is a long way off – particularly for a government that might not last 25 weeks. We need action now.”
– ENDS –

For further information please contact:
Email: sheffield.labourcouncillors@outlook.com
Tel: 07968 676 022

Sheffield City Council Calls for Bold Action on Climate Change

Sheffield City Council has today reacted to the formal publication of two new reports into the causes and effects of climate change.

The 5th Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most complete assessment ever undertaken of the planet’s climate, set up by the United Nations. The IPCC does not carry out its own research, but bases its assessment on the published work of scientists across the world. The IPCC report is over 2000 pages in length and cites over 9000 scientific publications. It is the most thorough scientific document produced.

It has concluded that [direct quotes]:

• “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
• “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.”
• “Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.”
• “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further global warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
• “Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped.”

At the same time, research published by the Met Office in the academic journal ‘Nature Climate Change’ has found that global warming will lead to drier, hotter summers in the UK, which are more prone to both long droughts and short extreme downpours.

In response, Councillor Jack Scott, the Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “These new reports provide strong and compelling scientific evidence that climate change is happening, is caused by human activity and will have a devastating impact if urgent action is not taken to reduce our carbon emissions and invest in mitigation.

“It highlights the need for a global, legally binding treaty to cut carbon emissions at the Paris Conference next year. We also need to decarbonise our energy supply and invest massively in clean renewable energy and create green collar jobs.

“Sheffield people remember the awful floods of 2007 and 2010 – these scientific reports are telling us that problems like those are going to happen more often and be even more severe. They paint a very bleak picture for our future, for our city and our planet, unless we take determined, consistent and bold action to reduce carbon emissions now.

“We’ve established a Green Commission to build agreement of what needs to happen and develop a proper plan to make sure we take action on the greatest threat our society faces. As one of the greenest cities, Sheffield needs to be a national leader in this work. We cannot afford to get this wrong.”

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