Meeting with Sheffield City Council

Two of the Hope for the Future team attended Sheffield City Council’s (SCC) latest council meeting which involved a discussion on ‘Responding to the Climate Emergency’. The webcast for the full debate upon this can be found here.

As part of the Authority to Act project, the Hope for the Future team have been researching local councils, with the aim of helping campaigners and residents to productively engage with their local councillors upon addressing climate change within their region, in the wake of numerous local councils declaring climate emergencies. 

Zoe asking a question about meeting carbon budgets at the City Council Meeting

Zoe asking a question about meeting carbon budgets at the City Council Meeting

Lots of members of the public attended the council meeting, and there were numerous pertinent questions asked to the council by campaigners from Friends of the Earth and Sheffield Climate Alliance. For example, one question asked what the council’s plan was surrounding home insulation, since this is a way to significantly reduce energy demand while tackling fuel poverty. Another campaigners pointed out that transport accounts for 25% of the U.K’s total emissions, and asked what the council planned to do regarding reducing emissions from transport in Sheffield. Two members of Hope for the Future also asked the council questions, links to the two questions that we asked can be found here and here.

Two researchers from the Tyndall Centre, which is a trans-disciplinary institute doing research into climate change mitigation strategies, presented the report they have written for Sheffield on setting climate change commitments in line with the Paris Agreement. The Tyndall Centre researchers outlined how they had formulated a carbon budget for Sheffield for 2020-2100, which is 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, based upon remaining in line with the Paris Agreement. They set 2038 as an absolute end date for Sheffield to reach net zero emissions, and argued that Sheffield should implement an immediate programme of CO2 mitigation, to deliver cuts in emissions averaging 14% per year.

It is important that SCC communicates about the climate emergency and about SCC’s plan for how to tackle this to the public, and engages residents in the process of developing their carbon reduction strategy, in order for people to support measures in line with this. It would be helpful if SCC communicate the information provided by the Tyndall Centre on Sheffield’s responsibilities towards meeting the Paris Agreement in a simple, digestible form to local residents.

If you’d like help working with your local council, please get in touch with our Local Councils Coordinator Julia