If you can’t come to Mon 22nd Sept People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team meeting…

for people who cant come-page001It’s going to be a corking meeting, from 7pm to 8.30 at the Moss Side Community Allotment. There’ll be lots of opportunities to meet other people, swap ideas and skills, and to formally launch the brilliant new report “Total Carbon Footprint – time for a second step?” But if you can’t come, please fill in this below. If you can send a photo of yourself to environmentalscrutiny@gmail.com, that’d be even better (we will turn the replies we receive into posters to put on the walls. We will NOT include your email address)

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Fuel Poverty Action activist barred from Labour Party Conference

There’s a Labour Party Conference coming to town, in case you didn’t know (or care).  On Monday 22nd September, from 12.45 to 2.15 there is a panel on Fuel Poverty.  A “Fuel Poverty Action” activist has been invited to be on the panel, and then disinvited.   Explanation is not really forthcoming.  In any case, it seems extraordinary that security can’t cope with one activist. It’s not like she’s a 6’10” Terminator.  Perhaps the real threat is to their ideology?

Posted in Democratic deficit, Energy, Fracking, press release journalism, University of Manchester, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

#Manchester and the “Total Carbon Footprint” approach – brilliant new report

Could Manchester adopt a more honest “carbon accounting scheme”? Two young Mancunians have produced a brilliant 12 page report called “Total Carbon Footprint – time for a second step.” [Download pdf here]

totalcarbonfootprintcover-page001In 2009 Manchester City Council produced, with stakeholders, the “Manchester Climate Change Action Plan” (also known as Manchester A Certain Future). One of the promises in that report was that the City Council would start reporting on its “embedded” emissions (the energy etc that went into producing the cans of coca-cola etc etc that are consumed – put not produced – in the city). That promise wasn’t kept, and the entire approach was kicked into the long grass.

Now, Joe Blakey and Claire Woolley have – following intensive research and interviews – produced a short, easy-to-read report that is available for everyone – be they councillors, campaigners, academics or “just plain concerned citizens.” Comments are very welcome indeed.

The report (proof-read by Margaret Morris, with illustrations by Marc Roberts) will be formally launched next Monday night (22nd September) at the next meeting of the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team.* The meeting is free, and takes place at the Moss Side Community Allotment, corner of Bowes and Caythorpe Sts.


and if it’s not opening up for you, click on this link


* Note the name change from “committee” to “team.” Better acronym. Hat-tip to Matt!

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Upcoming Event: “The Empty Promise of the Sharing Economy” #Manchester Weds 24 Sept

Below is the full academic version. If I were a scurrilous tabloid hack, as opposed to a PhD student at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (1) I would say

“Tree-huggers want to get us out of our greed heads, and have been starry-eyed about the ‘sharing economy’ as the way forward. But it’s waaaay more complicated than that, and here’s examples from car-sharing in cities to show you why.  We’re still doomed.”

becarefulwhatyouwishforBut I am NOT a scurrilous tabloid hack (any more) and so here is the full academic version-

“Proponents of sustainable consumption have long endorsed the attenuation of societal commitments favoring product ownership and the corresponding ascendency of exchange relationships predicated on communal access. Concomitantly, the past several years have given rise to a new wave of Internet-enabled commerce that reconfigures customary systems for the usership of goods and services. Most sustainability proponents have encouraged this upsurge of interest in so-called collaborative consumption as a hopeful and positive development with some analyses even interpreting the renewal of
sharing as early evidence that established consumerist lifestyles are starting to unwind. There is, though, an interesting paradox—namely the absence of much genuine sharing in the purported “sharing economy.” This presentation will highlight the empty promise of business models premised on the mutual utilization of products and explain how a small handful of crusading entrepreneurs has misconstrued these unfolding developments.The critique is premised on a two-dimensional taxonomy that distinguishes four different consumption modes based on ownership type (individual or conjoint) and ownership motivation (pecuniary or non-pecuniary). Applications from urban transportation are used to demonstrate the utility of this framework. The resultant analysis discloses the ersatz quality of most contemporary sharing activity and exposes its ineffectualness as a sustainability strategy.”

The seminar is on Weds 24th September 4 to 5.30pm in the Harold Hankins building (the tall one in the Manchester precinct.) Free, no need to book.

Marc “never let the facts get in the way of a good story” Hudson

(1) True fact. And also the reason why posting on Manchester Climate Monthly is about to fall off a cliff.

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What would Thatcher say? Over half Tory MPs deny climate change (Polar Bear Facepalm)

‘Incredibly, 53% of Tory MPs asked in the poll agreed with the statement that “it has not yet been conclusively proved that climate change is man made”, a further 18% agree that “man-made climate change is environmentalist propaganda”.’ Original story here.

Margaret Thatcher, bless her cotton socks, was an early advocate of climate action. Sir Crispin Tickell managed to explain it to her (she had, let’s not forget, a chemistry background).  She made a major speech on this a couple of days… before the Berlin Wall came down. The rest is history.  As is the species, quite soon.



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Smart meters useless? Or is it the Big Six that need to go? #Manchester energy person responds

The BBC reported this morning that “Installing smart meters in every house in the UK will save consumers “only 2%” on their annual bills, a committee of MPs has warned. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that, on average, consumers will save just £26 a year.”

MCFly asked Manchester-based Carbon Coop for a response. Quick as you like -

The Public Accounts Committee are right to highlight the huge cost of smart meter installation and ask whether true benefits will be delivered to consumers.

As a concept, smart meters do have the potential to empower consumers, not just as individuals but as effective collaborators and co-operators. Delivered properly this approach opens the door to communities and local authorities owning and supplying electricity and enables us to envisage a way to undermine the power of the Big Six energy companies.

However, the problem with the government’s smart meter roll out is that the programme is entirely in the hands of the Big Six and that the technology chosen excludes the householder from the process. Smart meters are something that happen ‘to’ people rather than ‘for’ or ‘with’ them.

As we’ve highlighted on numerous occasions, the larges-cale roll out of smart meters needs to be facilitated by grassroots organisations and to use open, human-scale technology.

We’re collaborating with an open source project, OpenEnergyMonitors, to investigate the adaption of their equipment and to test it out as a tool for community owned aggregation of energy supply.

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Reports for the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Committee – the how/why/what #Manchester ideas

pescgoalsiconThe next meeting of the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Committee is on Monday 22nd September, from 7pm at the Moss Side Community Allotment, cnr Bowes St and Caythorpe St. Here’s an account of the first meeting (if anyone who was at it wants to say what they thought in the comments below, please do).

At this meeting there will be all the things that matter – chances for you to meet other people, learn new skills, find out about upcoming events and so on. If you can’t come, there are plenty of other ways of being involved, not least looking at the “jobs list”- ,there are jobs for all skill levels, and all levels of availability.

The meeting on Monday 22nd will also be the launch of a brief report on the “Total Carbon Footprint” approach to counting emissions that Manchester City Council briefly promised a few years ago. Two students have been working hard on a report about why it is an approach that deserves to be brought back onto the agenda.

Future meetings of the PESC (the next one is on Monday 20th October) will launch OTHER reports. Including ones that you (yes, YOU) can be involved in creating. Whether you have research skills (or want them), writing skills (or want them), proorfreading skills (or want them), publicity skills (or want them), there are jobs to be done…

Here’s the flow-chart…Click on it and it should get bigger.

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