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A Magazine for Sheffield

Why now is the time to engage your local MP on climate change

With an international climate conference on the horizon, we need to make our views about climate breakdown clear to politicians, says Georgina Collins of Hope for the Future.

Person holding there is no planet b poster photo unsplash
Li-An Lim (Unsplash)

On 30 December 2020, the UK committed to new vital climate targets of reducing emissions by at least 68% over the next ten years and becoming net zero by 2050. With five months to go before the UK hosts the delayed UN Climate Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this November, there is a key opportunity for people to engage their politicians on climate change.

Yet many people are still confused about what the UK is doing to reach its targets, what COP26 is, and what they can do to support the country’s climate efforts. According to the independent Climate Change Committee, only 9% of our emissions can be cut through individual behaviour change alone, which is why a political, as well as public, mandate to drive our response to the climate crisis is absolutely essential.

It can be hard to see the relevance of an international climate treaty to your community. But meeting net zero targets is fundamentally about transitioning to a low carbon infrastructure, so many of the daily decisions around new and existing infrastructure – such as new buildings, roads and utilities – are made at the local level.

Showing communities the value of driving government action on climate change is one of our priorities at Hope for the Future. As a climate communications charity based in Sheffield, we want to equip people with the skills they need to be part of the conversation around the decisions that will affect their daily lives.

Community engagement on COP26 will be enormously valuable over the next six months. The more that MPs from all parties can hear from their constituents about COP26 and what they want to see from the government in relation to the UK’s climate targets, the more likely it is that they’ll engage with the conference in Parliament with other MPs and decision makers, and ultimately help to build a consensus around climate action.

This is why we have launched Hope for the Future’s Build Back Greener campaign, in partnership with Crowdfunder's #BackTheFuture initiative, which encourages communities to take this opportunity to engage their local politicians pre-COP26, and show the government that the UK public wants to see bigger, bolder commitments on the climate.

We are aiming to raise £10,000 by the end of June to support our work enabling people to engage with COP26 by providing free access to training, schools workshops, resources, events and more.

We’ll be releasing videos throughout the month around the five key themes of COP26, along with examples of areas where we believe our work could make the most difference, and we’re hosting a fundraising event, Conversations for Change, on 25 June to showcase our work.

Ceridwyn Stewart, our Fundraiser at Hope for the Future, says we’ve got a “unique opportunity” to make sure government responses are “at the heart of the country’s recovery from the pandemic”.

“Anyone can make their voice heard on issues that affect them and their planet, so that together we can empower the government action needed to hit our national climate targets.”

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