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Sheffield MP launches citizen-led 'Climate Manifesto' ahead of COP26

Created at a series of assemblies organised by Olivia Blake, the document calls for transformative change on food, finance, energy and biodiversity.

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Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake handing the Climate Manifesto in to Downing Street with her constituents.

Olivia Blake.

Ahead of the start of the international COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this weekend, Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake has launched a wide-ranging 'Climate Manifesto' created over the last year by her constituents.

The manifesto contains proposals on public transport, food production and renewable energy, as well as climate restoration and ensuring a just transition to a zero-carbon society. Five of Blake's constituents joined her to hand the manifesto in at 10 Downing St.

"I am so proud to be launching this manifesto of policies and priorities put forward by the people of Hallam," said Blake.

"I have always believed that our response to the climate emergency must be led by working people – those who are already feeling the effects of the climate crisis the hardest.

The 20-page manifesto includes measures to improve urban mobility, including "free and ubiquitous" public transport, better infrastructure for walking and cycling and greatly increased rail capacity.

The document calls for more local and seasonal food in supermarkets and an increase in allotments and community farms, as well as printed information on carbon footprints on all products sold.

On finance, the manifesto says big polluters who have caused the climate crisis should pay for a just transition and that any new taxation must be "progressive and just".

The document was put together through a series of Zoom assemblies this year, where residents were joined by guests including Chris Packham, Green New Deal economist Ann Pettifor and local sustainable business Our Cow Molly.

"The ideas and principles outlined in this document have been drawn from the many assemblies and describe the changes my constituents said they would like to see at a local, regional, national and international level," said Blake.

"Above all, this manifesto speaks to the dynamism and ingenuity of the people of Hallam in imagining how to do things differently. I hope Boris Johnson will consider these thoughtful, considered and practical suggestions."

Other measures advocated in the document include retrofitting homes with greener heating, insulation and power, and a focus on "urban rewilding" to bring more trees and wildlife to city centres.

Reflecting the work of organisations like Sheffield Renewables, the manifesto calls for more renewable energy production at a local level, as well as an end to 'greenwashing' from big energy companies who "accelerate climate catastrophe."

At a global level, Hallam constituents said that everyone should have "a right to a dignified life and a planet that's safe", and agreed that nobody should be forced to move from their homes.

The COP26 climate summit starts in Glasgow this weekend, and its success will likely depend on whether big polluters like China and the US make stronger commitments to reduce emissions.

Judith Gwynn, a Hallam resident who joined Blake to hand the manifesto in to the Prime Minister, said that the assemblies had been "a fantastic opportunity to come together."

"The overarching theme that has come out of this project is climate justice – this is something we can and all need to get behind.”

by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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