Don’t believe a Lib Dem election leaflet!

I was astonished to see this leaflet from the Lib Dems.

The true state of the parties is

Not only have the Lib Dems distorted the axis to make it look as if they are close challengers to Labour, but they have deliberately missed out the 14 Green Party Councillors!

Unfortunately, this is not illegal and is unlikely to be challenged in the courts. But it shows how little integrity the Liberal Democrats have. If they are willing to lie so openly in a leaflet, what are they doing when they have private conversations with voters on the doorstep?

At a time when the Lowcock Report has recently been published, showing how Labour Councillors went as far as misleading the courts in their war against tree campaigners, one would expect the Lib Dems to be leading by example and championing the Nolan Principles of Public Life, namely Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.

It is worth thinking about what the Lib Dems are not telling the voters. There are 84 Councillors on Sheffield City Council. That means if a party has more than 42 Councillors, they are in Overall Control. Currently, with 39 Councillors, Labour needs support from other parties to get motions passed. If the Lib Dems and Greens agree about something they can outvote the Labour Councillors. It is very unlikely that extreme policies such as those followed in the tree dispute by Labour would be allowed to continue during a No Overall Control Council.

Labour are hoping that the current No Overall Control situation will be overturned at the election. If they make 4 gains they will control the Council again, making it very difficult for other parties to have any influence. It would allow Labour to make decisions behind closed doors again, rather than in the spotlight of the Committees where the public and journalists can observe what they are doing.

Currently, all three main parties are part of the administration. They take joint responsibility for the decisions made. Yet the Lib Dems frequently continue to call it the “Labour Council”.

The Committee System that replaced the Strong Leader Model, thanks to the hard work of It’s Our City, means that Committees also reflect the overall makeup of the Council.

Labour are also showing they haven’t learnt the lessons from the Lowcock report. This is one of their recent posts.

But if you go to the trouble to examine the voting record, you find Labour voted exactly the same as the Green Party on the Housing issue! Indeed it was passed unanimously!

Other myths have been spread by both Labour and Lib Dems, notably about the situation concerning possible solutions to congestion and illegal parking on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road. The Green Party have published Myth Buster leaflets to get the truth out to the public, but little attention has been given to this by the media.

Local politics is in a terrible state when it is clear you can’t believe what you are told by those we have elected. I really hope this election campaign will improve with some sensible debate between the parties rather than the use of lies and disinformation which confuse and alienate the voters.

Die in at Barclays

On Saturday 25th March Sheffield Extinction Rebellion joined forces with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for an action at Barclays Bank.

Here is a quick summary of events

Here is a much more detailed video of the action including some of the speeches in full. (30 minutes)

If you made a speech at the protest please send me the text and I will copy it here.

The climate time bomb is ticking

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report. It briefly made headlines on the BBC and in the more sensible newspapers, but was then quickly forgotten. Greta Thunberg commented “Today, after yesterday’s IPCC report, everything is back to normal – as always. We continue to ignore the climate crisis as if nothing happened. Our societies are still in denial, and those in power go on with their never-ending quests to maximise profits. We cannot afford this.”

So what did the report actually say? Prof. Katharine Hayhoe wrote an excellent summary on Twitter.

“First, climate change has already caused widespread and substantial losses to almost every aspect of human life on this planet, and the impacts on future generations depend on the choices we make NOW.

Second, every bit of warming matters. The warmer the planet gets, the more widespread and pronounced the changes in both average climate and climate and weather extremes become.

Third, the impacts are very serious: they directly affect our health, food sources, water and more.

Fourth, the percentage of animal species exposed to potentially dangerous conditions increases significantly the faster the world warms. In general, ocean species like coral and tropical species are most at risk.

So given this dire news, surely we are well on our way to cutting our carbon emissions, no? No. The synthesis report is crystal clear: we are not doing nearly enough to avoid dangerous impacts, let alone achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement.”

The report shows our choices matter and the faster we act, the better off we will all be – all of us who call this planet home. So many of the solutions are already available today, and benefit us in so many ways — addressing health, equity, justice, and even economic concerns while increasing resilience and accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.

The report was launched with a speech from the United Nations Secretary-General. António Guterres. He began

“Dear friends humanity is on thin ice and that ice is melting fast as today’s report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change details. Humans are responsible for virtually all Global heating. Over the last 200 years, the rate of temperature rise in the last half-century is the highest in 2000 years. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest in at least 2 million years. The climate time bomb is ticking but today’s IPCC report is a how-to guide to diffuse the climate time bomb. It is a survival guide for humanity as it shows the 1.5-degree limit is achievable but it will take a quantum leap in climate action. This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and in every time frame. In short, our world needs climate action on all fronts everything, everywhere all at once.”

On hearing the speech, Geoff Cox, Chair of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance said “I feel sorry for the Secretary-General, he must be running out of words to describe his despair. It’s interesting to reflect that climate scientists have been warning of irreversible climate consequences for years – to prompt action, and now feel the need to emphasise the remaining scope for hope –  to ensure we don’t all just give up”.

Climate scientist, Prof Bill McGuire tweeted  “I’m sorry, but the ‘final warning’ was years back It is now practically impossible to stop a 1.5C rise, so we cannot sidestep dangerous climate breakdown But we must fight for every 0.1C rise to stop dangerous becoming cataclysmic.” He calculates that we need to slash emissions by 50 per cent in about 80 months to have any hope of remaining within the 1.5 degrees of heating. 

Author Jason Hickel called for a  Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, which now has strong support from scientists and civil society. We need a clear and binding plan for phasing out fossil fuels in a just and equitable way. Meanwhile, our Government continue to go ahead with the Cumbria coal mine,  Rosebank oil field, and block onshore wind and solar.

We need to understand that the IPCC is a very conservative body. Everything that they publish has to achieve the consensus of a very large group of international scientists. This explains why there is hardly any mention of the risks associated with feedback loops and weakening carbon sinks as they are so difficult to model.  These feedback loops are already kicking in at our current 1.1 degrees C of heating but will accelerate as the planet heats up further. This could lead to a Hothouse Earth scenario where the planet continues to heat up, changing our living planet to a desolate one like Mars. 

The media have largely ignored the urgent calls in the report for the net zero targets to be brought forward to 2035. They have also failed to inform us of the mega bill that we are passing on to our youth. It is they who will have to pay for the carbon capture and storage that will be needed in the future because our generation has failed to stop our addiction to fossil fuels. 

If you are concerned about the climate emergency please join us at the Big One from April 21st-24th. There are coaches from Sheffield. The Big One is being supported by Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, CND. PCS Union, Friends of the Earth, CAFOD and many other campaigning groups.

Sheffield Street Tree Inquiry Report has been published and we should expect resignations.

The Tree Inquiry Report has been published but it is a long read. I am going to use this page to catalogue the varied coverage of the report.

The tree campaigners have been completely vindicated. Sir Mark said that initially developing and adopting a flawed plan “was a failure of strategic leadership” with responsibility resting primarily with senior council officers and senior political leaders in post between 2008 and 2012 – during which time both the Lib Dems and Labour held power.” Some leading Councillors should be considering their position. From what I have read it is clear to me that both Cllr Terry Fox and Cllr Bryan Lodge should resign. As I said on Facebook “People responsible for “irrational, unreasonable, deceitful, dishonest, bullying and intimidating behaviour” should no longer be at the helm of Sheffield City Council.”

On Radio Sheffield this morning (8/3/23) Paul Brooke from STAG was calling for a full apology to the High Court for the way the Council misled them. Misleading the High Court is an extremely serious matter. Those that did this are lucky perjury is not being considered. Surely a written apology is clearly needed.

The Lib Dems are calling for Fox and Lodge to resign, but this should not distract from the fact that they too are very much to blame. Lord Scriven has apologised for his mistake in misinterpreting the term “over-mature”. This led to the plan to target 17,500 street trees in the city for felling. The 2007 report stated 74 per cent of its 35,000 street trees would be classed as “mature” or “over-mature” by March 2008. The council then produced an outline business case which wrongly misinterpreted those findings as meaning those trees were “ready for replacement” – leading to the 17,500 figure being put in the contract tender in 2009. The Lib Dems should also be apologising for championing this disastrous PFI contract with Amey. The contract was originally negotiated by a Liberal Democrat led council but was finalised under Labour and signed in 2012.

Here are all the documents and videos related to the report. (including a link to download the 227 page report)

Here is Sir Mark Lowcock launching the report.

Here you will find links to various articles in the press.

The Guardian

The Yorkshire Post Truth and Reconciliation

YorkshirPost. Why Fox and Lodge won’t resign

Yorkshire Post calls for resignations

Yorkshire Post Five Damning Findings

Yorkshire Post Sheffield Council Misled the Courts

Sheffield Star Council Misled the public

Sheffield Green Party Key lessons for Sheffield Council

Sheffield Lib Dems Call for Resignations

Sheffield Tree Action Groups Press Release

BBC Radio Sheffield. Toby Foster Breakfast Show. Features featuring Cllr Terry Fox (SCC), Rebecca Hammond (STAG) and Alison Teal.

ITV Calendar (Spot me on the video!)

Campaigning with Natalie Bennett to Save Norfolk Park Trees

If you like to eat it is time to get serious about the climate emergency.

Shoppers have been struggling to find fresh salad and vegetables in the supermarkets recently. Some have blamed this on Brexit, others on extreme weather in Spain and North Africa. The truth is a mixture of both. Extreme weather in Spain and North Africa has badly affected the crops so climate change is now impacting our food supply. This will get worse as we continue to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We are currently at 1.2C degrees of warming, but it is rising fast and so are the extreme weather occurrences that destroy crops all over the world. If you like to eat it is time to get serious about the climate emergency.

Comments on the Star letters page often accept climate change is happening, but then say there is nothing we can do about it as it is caused by “natural cycles”. I want to explode that myth because unless we realise that our pollution is destroying the systems we need for survival, there is no hope for our future. 

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the Universe. Most of Earth’s carbon—about 65,500 billion metric tons—is stored in rocks. The rest is in the ocean, atmosphere, plants, soil, and fossil fuels.

You probably learnt about the carbon cycle at school. Humans and animals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants and plankton absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen in the process of photosynthesis. When plants are eaten, or they decay or are burnt, the carbon dioxide is released again. Sometimes the carbon is absorbed into rocks and over massive periods can become coal or oil.

Geochemists have found that every mass extinction event in the Earth’s history is linked to a massive disruption of the Carbon Cycle. 

252 million years ago volcanoes were burning through carbon-rich limestone and igniting massive coal and natural gas deposits, injecting thousands of gigatonnes of CO2 into the air. What happened? Mass extinction because the climate overheated.It is Carbon that modulates the temperature of the planet and the chemistry of the ocean. If the carbon cycle goes wrong, the thermostat breaks and the oceans acidify.

Peter Brannen writes in Greta Thunberg’s The Climate Book: “In the End-Permian mass extinction carbon dioxide blasted out of Siberian volcanoes for thousands of years and nearly ended the project of complex life. All the normal guardrails in the carbon cycle buckled and failed in this, the single worst moment in the entire geological record. The temperatures soared by 10C, the planet convulsed with lurid blooms of algal slime that robbed their ancient waters of oxygen. This anoxic ocean instead filled with poisonous hydrogen sulphide as hurricanes roared overhead….one could travel the world without seeing a tree, the world’s coral reefs had been replaced by bacterial slime, the fossil records went silent and the planet took 10 million years to pull itself back from oblivion..” 

What is happening today? We are igniting similar massive reservoirs of underground carbon by burning fossil fuels. It’s not erupting through massive volcanoes; instead, we are mining and drilling to power our factories, cars, lorries, ships, planes, boilers, TVs, fridges, and game consoles. We are emitting carbon at a rate ten times greater than previous mass extinctions.

The planet doesn’t care if this increase in carbon in the atmosphere comes from a once in a 100 million year volcanic event or a materialistic fossil fuel-burning industrial society. It will react in exactly the same way.  

Bandipur National Park wildfire 2019 by NaveenNkadalaveni

One worrying disruption to the carbon cycle is the growth of wildfires. A forest fire releases vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere but also the destroyed vegetation ceases to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Wildfires generate air pollution, destroy habitats and wildlife and damage water quality. The Amazon basin used to be a huge carbon sink, so it absorbed massive amounts of carbon dioxide. But now it is drying out due to climate change, making wildfires more likely and it is being felled to support industrial-scale agriculture. It has become a net source of carbon in the atmosphere.

The soil contains over 3000 gigatonnes of carbon, about four times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and all the plants in the world combined. It helps regulate the carbon cycle and contributes to food production, biodiversity, drought and flood resilience. But it is threatened by climate change. As temperatures rise, the activity of microorganisms in the soil increases, so more CO2 is emitted. There is a danger of a terrible feedback loop, where increased temperatures increase soil CO2 emissions, which further increase temperatures etc.

To avoid this tipping point we need to take immediate action. We have to urgently reduce our CO2 emissions, plant far more trees and adopt sustainable agricultural practices. This will increase the soil carbon bank and draw down atmospheric CO2. It isn’t just a lack of tomatoes we need to worry about. All life is threatened if we don’t stop disrupting the carbon cycle.  

The climate has varied throughout the earth’s history. Each time there has been a dramatic change it has been because the carbon cycle has been disrupted. Today the carbon cycle is being disrupted again

Four years since Sheffield City Council declared a Climate Emergency. How far have we got?

At the Full Council meeting on 20th February South Yorkshire Climate Alliance gathered supporters of groups such as Extinction Rebellion. 5 Rivers Rising Samba Band, Greenpeace, the Trades Council, Nature Recovery Sheffield, the Green Party and Climate Vigil to mark the 4 years that have passed since Sheffield declared a Climate Emergency. The theme of the rally was “Drowning in Promises”. We have heard so many promises from the Council in the last 4 years, yet there has been so little action. XR emphasised that with their lifejackets. Click here to see what happened 4 years ago. when I handed in the petition to the Council.

Here is a video of the rally outside the Town Hall, including speakers from Labour and the Greens. It was significant that nobody turned up to speak for the Lib Dems, even though they had been invited well in advance. Other speakers were from Greenpeace, Nature Recovery Sheffield and the Trades Council.

Here is a video of Geoff Cox, Chair of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, handing in the petition and the reply from Cllr Mazher Iqbal (Labour).

In my view the Green Party Councillors have been trying to hard to introduce measures to start to get us to Net Zero. The Workplace Parking Levy is a good example of this. But Lib Dem and Labour Councillors are continuously watering down or rejecting the proposals and sometimes even spread misinformation about them to get the electorate on their side. So now we are seeing the rise of right-wing conspiracy theories. Here is a quote from a letter in today’s Star.

“The Council is implementing a scheme that will not stop but instead moves ever onwards, starting with Clean Air Zones, moving towards ultra low emission zones, then low traffic neighbourhoods and eventually fifteen minute neighbourhoods and the abolition of private car ownership. All this is fact and is written in black white.”

Of course the author does not mention his sources. It is worrying that the great idea of fifteen minute neighbourhoods is being hijacked by these Trumpian conspiracy theorists, who make it sound as if people will be prevented from travelling more than 15 minutes from home. Actually a 15-minute neighbourhood involves a menu of policy actions that provide residents access to most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home. They are about preventing the need to travel, so that all the services you need, schools, doctors, green space, shops etc are close at hand. To get to Net Zero we do have to reduce our car use, so we need massive investment in public transport, with public control of our buses and trams.

We must not let these right wingers take control of the agenda. If you are concerned about the climate emergency, please get active. Write letters to the press, write to your Councillors in support of measures they want to take to tackle the climate crisis, write to your MP to move it up the political agenda, and join us outside Parliament for the Big One to demand change from our Government.

Photos from Steph XR

XR lifejackets
5 Rivers Rising Smaba Band
Mike Tomson, South Yorkshire Climate Alliance
Richard Teasdale (Greenpeace) and Sawn Spiers (Nature Recovery Sheffield)

South Yorkshire Climate Alliance call for cross-party solutions to Climate Emergency.

A guest blog by By Joan Miller from South Yorkshire Climate Alliance

Four years ago Sheffield City Council declared a Climate Emergency but since then progress to zero carbon has been far too slow. It is certainly not what the massive gathering of protesters was calling for back in 2019. 

In 2019 protesters were successful in urging the Council to declare a Climate Emergency.

So this week South Yorkshire Climate Alliance wrote to all the Councillors to remind them of the urgency of the situation and to suggest they hold cross-party meetings to see what measures they can agree on that will start to reduce emissions. Here is the letter.

Dear Councillor,

 It is now four years since Sheffield City Council formally recognised the Climate Emergency facing the world.  

In February 2019 the council declared a climate emergency, and subsequently stated its intention to work towards Sheffield becoming a zero-carbon city by 2030 – thereby playing our full part in the Paris Agreement.  The time scale was ambitious but properly reflected the urgency of the situation.  Since then, four of the eleven years between setting the target and achieving the goal have passed without any steps being taken that will genuinely make a serious dent in our city’s carbon emissions.  The positive actions that have been taken, such as energy efficiency improvements in 800 homes and the SCC fleet replacement programme are commendable, but the reality is that they are on nothing like the scale and pace required.    

The South Yorkshire Climate Alliance (SCA) has asked repeated questions at full council and committee meetings about this slow rate of progress in recent months, but none of the answers given suggest any sense of urgency.  We believe this can be turned around with sufficient political will, and are asking all Sheffield City Councillors to show this on a cross-party basis.  The Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee’s decision on 19 January to create a Task and Finish Group to accelerate the production of the decarbonisation route maps can be a means to do this – to inject the necessary urgency into both the plans and the delivery. 

We would encourage Sheffield City Council to take lessons from measures other councils have already taken.  Friends of the Earth and climate solutions charity Ashden have drawn together a set of case studies which provide exactly this type of information (  To take two housing examples: Manchester has made significant progress in training up a retrofit workforce, and Liverpool has taken measures to improve insulation in privately rented accommodation through licensing measures.  Investment in decarbonisation measures will stimulate the local economy, create jobs, reduce heating bills and need not be a significant burden on council budgets.  

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told world leaders at the opening of COP 27, “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.” We urge all Sheffield City Councillors to reflect on the reality of this.  Providing clear leadership for our city is in your hands.  Give the citizens of Sheffield a vision of what we can achieve together.  The South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, and the voluntary and community sectors more widely, will be active supporters in making these changes happen – and all the more so if you create the right kind of enabling, participative infrastructure alongside it.  

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Cox, Chair

On behalf of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance

The Council has faced many years of cuts to its budget, so you may think it is understandable that little progress has been made. But Friends of the Earth and Ashden have published 51 case studies of Councils that have made good progress and not all of the measures increase costs to the Council, indeed some raise more funds which can then be invested in better public transport.

Nottingham’s workplace parking levy, introduced in October 2011, was the first of its kind in the western hemisphere. A workplace parking levy is a charge on employers who provide parking spaces. This tackles congestion by incentivising employers to reduce their parking provision, supports employees with alternative journey plans and helps fund major transport infrastructure.

In Nottingham, the charge only applies to employers who provide 11 or more parking spaces. Smaller employers are exempt, as are spaces for disabled people, NHS premises and emergency services. The current charge per parking space is £428 a year, payable by the employer. All revenue raised from Nottingham’s levy is ringfenced by law to be spent on improving local transport.

The results have been spectacular. Nottingham now has one of the UK’s strongest public transport systems. Fewer people drive, air quality has improved and so has public health. The levy contributed to a 33% fall in carbon emissions in Nottingham since 2005.

Other case studies include how Wiltshire is making homes warmer and more energy efficient, how Dundee Council is boosting renewable energy and jobs and how Wirral’s Tree Strategy will plant 210,000 trees by 2030

Please sign the petition on the SCA website. At 1 pm on Monday 20 February SCA will be outside the Town Hall before the Council meeting to make some noise – there’ll be performance art and music. Come along and let Sheffield City Council know there is a demand for change. At 2 pm we’ll present the petition to the Council. 

Sheffield’s Green Influencers

Who should you be following on Social Media this year? Which Sheffielders are the big environmental influencers?

I’ve put together a couple of league tables to see who has the most followers on Facebook and Twitter.  The clear winner on both is the Baroness of Manor Castle, Natalie Bennett who is one of the two Green Party peers in the House of Lords. She led the Green Party from 2012 to 2016 and is a Sheffield Green Party member. Her forthcoming book is called  “Change Everything”. She works tirelessly in the Lords trying to amend and/or defeat acts of parliament.

In a recent New Year’s video, she described three bills she is currently working on. 

  1. The Australia and New Zealand Trade Bill, where she will be addressing problems for our farmers, workers’ rights and the lack of parliamentary scrutiny.
  2. The Financial Services Bill where she is concerned that the Government’s  competitiveness agenda means letting the Financial Sector run riot. We know how that ended up in 2007/8!
  3. The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, which is allowing the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment. Here Natalie claims the government science is completely out of date.

To follow Natalie go to @natalieben on Twitter, NatalieBennettGreen on Instagram or Natalie Bennett, Green Party Member of the House of Lords on Facebook.

Foodworks come second on the Facebook table (15093 followers) and fifth on Twitter (@TheFoodWorksSHF 6352). Foodworks are a social enterprise, established in 2015 to raise awareness and reduce the scandal of food waste. They save over 500 tonnes of food per year and are working on building a fair and sustainable food system for Sheffield. They work with 100s of committed volunteers whose time, passion and skill drive their ability to feed thousands of people each month. 

Second on Twitter and third on Facebook are the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. A video filmed in Wyming Brook featuring Chris Packham urges us to get involved at two levels. He wants us to do things at a personal level, greening our lifestyles and building greener local communities. But he also wants us to communicate our demands to those in power and hold them to account because time is running out. This he says, “is the time for changing minds, changing practices and making meaningful differences”. Also featured in the video is Smithy Wood which was saved from “development” as an M1 Service Station and Owlthorpe Fields which was finally designated as a local wildlife site in 2022. If you want to help protect nature @WildSheffield is a must-follow. 

Third on Twitter (@SheffieldGreens) and 7th on Facebook is Sheffield Green Party . With 14 Councillors, the party holds the balance of power on the Council and with the new Committee system they have considerable influence in the Town Hall. A quick scroll through their Twitter account reveals pictures from the nurse’s picket lines,  new cycle parking facilities and news of roads to be resurfaced, without the need to cut down any trees. Sheffield Greens are definitely worth a follow to understand more about what happens at Sheffield Town Hall. 

4th on Facebook are Sheffield Tree Action Groups, a victorious campaign now featured in two films, The Felling and Tree-sistance. The campaign is still active, keeping an eye on the Council to ensure that they are now properly managing our street trees, but many of the Facebook posts are interesting reminiscences from the height of the dispute when protesters stood under healthy trees to stop them being felled. The group has spawned many other groups, such as It’s Our City which successfully campaigned to improve our local democracy by ditching the “Strong Leader” model of governance and bring in the Committee System, and Nether Edge and Sharrow Sustainable Transformation which has among other things been raising money to plant new street trees.  

5th on Facebook and 8th on Twitter is the Regather Coop. This amazing group run a veg box scheme, a small farm where they grow fruit and veg and cut flowers and run a community hub at Club Garden Road. 

Other organisations deserving a mention include @CycleSheffield which are organising the Sheffield Active Travel Summit on February 18th, @ShefEnvironment, which organises Sheffield Hen Harrier Day and @ParkinginSheff on Twitter, full name “Parking like a twat in Sheffield” which catalogues idiotic parking from all over the city. If you are a bad parker you better check to see if you are featured!  Sheffield Litterpickers highlight the magnificent work of volunteers from all over the city keeping our streets clean.  Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, having quit their tactics that disrupt the public, is busy building the biggest climate rally this country has ever seen, which is happening on April 21st at Parliament. South Yorkshire Climate Alliance are marking the 4th Anniversary of Sheffield Council declaring a Climate Emergency by petitioning the Council to start treating it like the Emergency it is.  Sheffield Vegans offer help in transitioning to a healthy plant-based diet.

Here is the top 30! Sincere apologies if I have missed anyone who deserves to appear in it. Please let me know! 

  • 1.  @natalieben (Natalie Bennett, Green Member of the House of Lords) 183500
  • 2. @Wild Sheffield (Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust) 10700
  • 3. @SheffieldGreens Sheffield Green Party 6669
  • 4. @TheFoodWorksSHF  6352
  • 5. @alisonclareteal Alison Teal 5760
  • 6. @PeterG4NES2019 Cllr Peter Garbutt (Nether Edge and Sharrow)5756
  • 7. @CycleSheffield Cycle Sheffield 5391
  • 8. @RegatherCoop 3900
  • 9. @ShefEnvironment 3741
  • 10. @ParkinginSheff Parking like a twat in Sheffield 3586
  • 11. @sheffieldrenew Sheffield Renewables 2926
  • 12. @XRShef Extinction Rebellion Sheffield 2611
  • 13. @carolbinks 2567 
  • 14. @LoganRobin96 2559
  • 15. @DouglasJSheff (Green Party Group Leader) 2537
  • 16. @Graham21 Founder cleanairsheff 2383
  • 17. @msalilla Angela Argenzio (Cllr Broomhill and SharrowVale Ward )2182
  • 18. @UAlbarella 2168
  • 19. @MartinPhipps13  2078
  • 20. @CleanAirSheff 1982
  • 21. @CycleSad 1853
  • 22. @AshRouth 1768
  • 23. @ShefClimateNews South Yorkshire Climate Alliance 1668
  • 24. @PaulTurnips Paul Turpin (Cllr Gleadless Valley and Heeley) 1649
  • 25. @IanDavidMcHugh 1533
  • 26. @BarnardSteve 1518
  • 27. @rivelin_valley Rivelin Valley Conservation Group 1426
  • 28. @samwake Sam Wakeling 1420
  • 29. @RuthMersereau (City Ward Councillor) 1365
  • 30. @kingfisherand Kingfisher and Owl, Save Birley Spa 1321
  • 1. Natalie Bennett, Green Member of the House of Lords 45000
  • 2. Foodworks 15093
  • 3. Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust 10,000
  • 4. Sheffield Tree Action Groups 9000
  • 5. Regather Cooperative 5900
  • 6. Extinction Rebellion Sheffield 4900
  • 7. Sheffield Green Party 4700 
  • 8. Sheffield Litterpickers 4233
  • 9. Sheffield Vegans 2700
  • 10. Cycle Sheffield 2166
  • 11. South Yorkshire Climate Alliance 1400
  • 12. Sheffield Renewables 1008
  • 13. Nether Edge and Sharrow Green Party 760
  • 14. Friends of the Earth Sheffield 693
  • 15. City Ward Green Party 678
  • 16. Better buses for South Yorkshire 632
  • 17. Gleadless Valley and Heeley Green Party 614
  • 18. Hillsborough Green Party 576
  • 19. Broomhill and Sharrowvale Green Party 548
  • 20. Sheffield Greenpeace 514
  • 21. Walkley and Crookes Swifts 391
  • 22. Reyt Repair 388
  • 23. Graham Wroe 383
  • 24. Sheffield Green Parents 351
  • 25. Penistone People and Planet 339
  • 26. Greener Greenhill 291
  • 27. Nether Edge and Sharrow Sustainable Transformation 270
  • 28, Douglas Johnson 263
  • 29. Walkley Green Party 203
  • 30. Green New Deal South Yorkshire 140

Climate Review of the Year

I hope 2022 will go down as the year the world woke up to the climate emergency. Extreme weather events have hit every part of the globe, including Sheffield. So far the planet has heated 1.2C. We are on track for 1.5C by 2030, 2C by 2050, and over 3C by 2100. 2022 was the hottest year in the UK since records began, and will probably be the hottest year globally. 96% of oil and gas companies are still expanding operations, further accelerating the climate emergency.

I am indebted to Climate Vanguard for compiling this list of climate events which I have summarised below.

In February, 13 million people in the Horn of Africa faced severe hunger due to the worst drought in 40 years.

April saw 341 deaths and over 40,000 affected due to unprecedented flooding in Durban, South Africa.

In April and May, there was a heatwave in South Asia. Temperatures soared to reach 49C in India and 51C in Pakistan, leading to crop failure and water shortages.

In June in Italy, the River Po experienced its worst drought in 70 years, damaging agriculture. Tokyo had the worst heatwave since records began. 

In July Sydney flooded, which was the third extreme flooding event in 18 months in New South Wales. A “Heat apocalypse” in Western France, forced 25,000 to flee their homes.

On July 19th, we experienced 40.3C in the UK, the hottest day on record. This beat the previous record of 38.7C set only 3 years ago in 2019.

In August wildfires covered 3 million acres of the Arctic. More than 100 municipalities in France ran out of drinking water due to the heatwave and the River Rhine almost ran dry. Water levels became so low in the Elbe River in the Czech Republic that a “hunger stone” from 1616 was revealed with the message  “If you see me, then weep”. Torrential downpours in New Zealand displaced 1,200 people, a summer heatwave in China was the most severe ever recorded in the world, with peak temperatures of 45C.  66 rivers dried up resulting in mass crop failure. 937 people were dead, and 30 million were displaced, due to horrific flooding in Pakistan.

Between June and November flooding in Nigeria, Niger and Chad killed hundreds, with 1.5 million people displaced.

The extreme cold in the USA is currently causing chaos. Did you know that a hotter climate can bring bigger snowstorms? Here in the UK, we will face extremely cold winters if the Jet Stream, which usually keeps us warm, is diverted due to the melting arctic. 

What developments have there been locally to change this trend to more extreme weather? We have seen the partial development of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Nether Edge and Crookes and more investment to improve cycle routes. This year we will see the implementation of the long-awaited Clean Air Zone in the city centre. But what good these do will be undone by the cuts to our bus services and the unreliability and expense of our train services which encourage more and more people to drive. 

Geoff Cox, Chair of South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, recently went to the Sheffield Council meeting to demand that they bring forward the plans to reduce Sheffield’s emissions. We are supposed to be aiming to be a carbon-neutral city by 2030, but as yet we don’t even have the plans to show how we are going to get there, let alone implement them. 

Nationally we have seen a Government implementing legislation to attack climate protestors rather than legislation to tackle the real problems, the climate and nature emergencies.

The Conservatives are binning many EU laws that have previously protected nature and are encouraging so-called “Investment Zones” which wildlife organisations call an attack on nature. They have destroyed any credibility in the myth that the UK is leading in tackling climate change by giving the go-ahead for a new coal mine.

Internationally we have seen two major conferences, COP27 and COP15. The breakthrough of COP27 was the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund to help vulnerable countries cope with the destructive impacts of climate change. COP15 focused on biodiversity. The agreement they reached aims to address species loss, restore ecosystems and protect indigenous rights. The stakes could not be higher: the planet is experiencing its largest loss of life since the dinosaurs. One million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades.
Neither of the agreements from COP27 or COP15 were legally binding so I am not confident nations will follow through and implement them. In 2023 we need many more people to actively challenge their Governments to do the right thing for the planet. Make it your New Years’ resolution to get involved and campaign for change. You could do something practical like joining a litter-picking group or getting involved in wildlife protection, you could join a pressure group and get involved in campaigning or you could join a political party and make sure they put climate at the top of their agenda. But do something! Ignoring it won’t make it go away! For inspiration see the long list of campaigning groups on South Yorkshire Climate Alliance’s website. (

Graham Wroe