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Calls for Climate Emergency: Labour and Greens prepare rival motions

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Extinction Rebellion Sheffield 'Funeral for the Future' protest, November 2018

Rival motions have been submitted by Labour and Green councillors to declare a climate emergency in Sheffield at a meeting of Full Council next week.

Labour appears to have launched its own motion to counter a more radical commitment from Green Party councillors Alison Teal and Martin Phipps.

"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," wrote Jack Scott, Labour cabinet member for transport and development, in a statement.

Councils across the country including Bristol and Manchester have already declared climate emergencies, although what this means in practice varies from council to council.

Labours motion promises a review into the Councils existing commitment to become a zero-carbon city by 2050, stating that the administration will report back to Full Council within six months with "a more ambitious date."

Actions speak much louder than words

The Green Party motion contains firmer proposals. The party wants to bring forward the zero-carbon date to 2030, as well as ensuring that "the forthcoming procurement of the Councils electricity supply is drawn from renewable sources."

Labours motion is likely to pass as the party has an absolute majority in the Council chamber.

"Sheffield's current plans to be carbon-zero by 2050 are nowhere near ambitious enough," Dr. Aaron Thierry of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield told Now Then.

"Extinction Rebellion have been demanding that our politicians recognise the seriousness of the climate crisis and tell the public the truth about the radical changes needed to halt the ecological catastrophe we're facing."

Thierry continued: "Declaring a climate emergency goes some way towards conveying the urgency of the situation we are in, but actions speak much louder than words.

"We now need to see all parties working together to develop an urgent and ambitious plan to phase out all fossil fuels from the citys energy, transport, food and heating systems."

Extinction Rebellion will be holding a rally outside the Town Hall at 1pm on Wednesday 6 February "to make clear Sheffielders demands for real and ambitious action," ahead of the Full Council meeting at 2pm.

Thierry said: "We need to rise to the challenge and take our place alongside leading cities in the UK such as Nottingham, who have brought forward their carbon-zero target, in line with what science and justice demands, to 2028."

Agenda for Full Council on 6 February 2019, including full detail of both climate emergency motions.

Sam Gregory

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