Sheffield needs to take drastic action now, say climate scientists

Climate scientists have predicted that if Sheffield continued the way it is, the city would use up its carbon budget 74 years too early.

By Molly Williams, local democracy reporter
Thursday, 04 July, 2019, 13:41
Extinction Rebellion protestors 'Die' at Sheffield Town Hall to force the council into more action on climate change

Sheffield needs to take drastic measures to stop the planet from dying, say scientists at the Tyndall Centre who have undertaken research into the climate targets the city needs to hit.

Their recommendations were revealed in a detailed report which was debated at a full council meeting in which councillors and the public discussed ways to cope with the climate crisis.

In the report, researchers outlined three key targets for Sheffield: to stay within a budget of 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions between 2020 and 2100; reach zero carbon emissions by at least 2038; and start cutting emissions immediately by 14 per cent a year.

They also state that these should be taken as a “minimum commitment” and Sheffield needed to start an “immediate and rapid programme of decarbonisation”.

Dr Jaise Kuriakose, of the Tyndall Centre, said: “From a science point of view these targets are needed but how to deliver that needs local knowledge.”

Green Party councillor Paul Turpin said: “Action should begin now and we don’t really have time to be waiting for assemblies or working groups or a clean air zone.”

Other councillors, including Ben Curran and Peter Garbutt, called for the council to consider other environmental emergencies such as species and soil depletion and other greenhouses gases in their decision making too.

The targets are required for the city to meet the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and “keep the global temperature well below 2 degrees.”

Scientists added that the city should review its targets every five years to keep up with the latest research.

A citizens assembly will be formed to take the research further and look at the best way for the city to respond.

Coun Lewis Dagnall, cabinet member for climate change, said: “There needs to be many different forms of democracy. We need an ongoing dialogue between elected representatives and the public, different parties setting out different visions and putting them to the people.”