Thank you to everyone who attended our second Climate Assembly last week, on Financing Decarbonisation—it was fantastic to be able to speak to so many of you about this important issue. As you may know, one of the big issues to be discussed at COP26 later this year is the question of how will we finance decarbonisation, and how much financial aid will be delivered to the Global South to aid decarbonisation.
Thank you also for all of your contributions to our breakout groups—it has been extremely helpful to learn how Hallam constituents feel decarbonisation should be financed, and the principles that should underpin that effort. It has also been incredibly encouraging to see such commonality in points raised across the groups.
I will be drawing all of these contributions together to produce a Hallam Citizens’ Climate Manifesto, to present to the UK Government and world leaders at the UN Summit later this year. However, I wanted to share a summary of the issues discussed, so we can continue these discussions.
There was broad agreement on the principles which should underpin financing decarbonisation:
- that the big polluters, those most responsible for the climate crisis, should pay and be held accountable
- that the poorest, and nations in the Global South, who are least responsible, should not be forced to pay for the impacts of the crisis imposed upon them
- that there should be a democratic and transparent plan for climate targets
- that everything we do should benefit everyone, but above all the most disadvantaged groups and the poorest in society
- that there needs to be a shift away from consumerism
- that any taxation should be progressive and just
There was broad agreement on the need to have specific taxes to help finance decarbonisation—suggestions included carbon taxes, corporation taxes, windfall taxes, and a VAT surcharge on big polluting companies.
There was also discussion of the need for tax incentives as well as tax penalties; that taxes should pay for improvements and pro-climate measures in our local areas; so any taxes on cars could pay for improvements like cycle routes, or local electric charging points. There was a discussion around whether it is better to invest in local transport links first, before considering any taxes on polluting behaviours, so that the poorest and most disadvantaged don’t lose out in the transition.
In the interest of ensuring that everything we do should benefit everyone, but particularly those most marginalised by society, any measures that tax or shift away from cars should take into account and ensure disabled people and those with mobility needs are not disadvantaged by such measures, and any and all measures are equitable and led by those communities.
There was also a discussion on decarbonising the finance sector and big businesses, discussing the need to change the outlook of the financial sector to invest in green companies; to priorities long-term not short-term investments; to force companies to be more transparent and disclose their carbon emissions; and to have a green investment bank to support small, ecologically just businesses.
Finally, there were calls for community wealth building, and using procurement to invest in local green companies; discussions of community bonds and green local investment bonds for Sheffield, so that we can locally raise funds to pay for our own transition; and the Council investing in, for example, local council teams for retrofitting, so that people in Sheffield can hire local climate teams to retrofit their own homes.
If you were unable to make the event, but would like to feed into the discussions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I will continue to feed any further comments and ideas into our Citizens’ Manifesto.
Please come along to next month’s event, which will be on Agriculture and Food Production, on Tuesday 6th April!