“Merchants of Doubt” co-author Naomi Oreskes interview – worth watching! (non- #Manchester)

Active doubt and denial campaigns are not the reason climate action in Manchester is so hopeless.  (This is in contrast to, say, Australia and the United States).  Here it’s down to other reasons, among which are – good old-fashioned bureaucratic inertia, some conflicting goals, nobody in the Manchester mafia having a pair/being willing to rock the boat. And the great and the good having neither the attention nor the capacity to push forward. Meh.

Here is an interview with Naomi Oreskes, who co-authored a book called “Merchants of Doubt: How a Scientists obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.”

There’s a film of this book coming out next year.

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Mon 15th Dec – public speaking and video making practice opportunities at PEST meeting

From People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team website

public speakingOn Monday 15th December you can get help, practical advice and encouragement about

a) public speaking and/or
b) video-making.

The next meeting of the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team will focus on these two skills from its list of 11 that it is trying to nurture and spread. It takes place at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, from 7pm. There is no need to filmaking ICONbook.

If you feel that you are a “practitioner”, “expert” or “ninja” at either public speaking or video-making and can attend the night, please get in touch. (And if you want to help, but can’t come, please have a look at the bluffer’s guides for public speaking and video-making and tell us what’s missing).

The format is yet to be decided (anyone want to help design this meeting?) but will involve a brief intro and then work in small groups. Nobody will be filmed without their consent, and footage of people who do consent to being filmed will be given to them so they can see what they look and sound like while doing their public speaking.

PEST has three goals

a) increase the skills, knowledge and connections of those who are involved
b)lobby the council (principally by example) for the creation of a seventh scrutiny committee (on the environment)
and as of 2015, c) help people prepare for unpleasant changes ahead

So far PEST has held some interactive meetings and released a whole bunch of reports

The next report (help is needed in project-managing this) will be on the subject of “What can we do to help each other be less unready for unpleasant surprises (Flu Pandemics, Extreme Weather Events, power cuts etc).” It will be released in January. Help is needed on all aspects of this – researching, writing, proof-reading, choosing a snappy title.

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Will the promised quarterly #climate plans be any good? Don’tholdyourbreath #Manchester

A couple of weeks ago Manchester City Council finally agreed to keep a promise it had made in February – for quarterly reports on its climate plan “progress”. This came after a two week blitz of blog posts about the Council’s broken promises, and ahead of the May 2015 elections.

One promise in the email various citizens received was that minutes of the Environmental Strategy Programme Board (a not-open-to-the-public meeting of senior Council officers and some councillors) were available on the Council’s website. A link was provided. Well, either that assurance was wrong, or the ESPB didn’t meet between February and October. Which is it?


More importantly, what will the promised quarterly plans actually contain?

With regard to the Council’s own emissions;

  • Will there be acknowledgement that selling off council buildings and warm winters have helped?
  • Will they try to take the credit for other external factors – (e.g. the 2013 traffic lights debacle?)
  • Will they generally try to spin the numbers/shift the baselines?
  • Will an explanation be given for why the Town Hall extension lights are on seemingly 24/7 be given?

With regard to the “Creation of a Low Carbon Culture” (goal two of the Climate Plan)

  • Will the numbers of councillors who are carbon literate be given, with their names?
  • Will there be an explanation of the factors behind the failure to deliver the training efficiently be given, and a credible plan for future actions?
  • Will OTHER actions towards goal two be mentioned?

And more broadly:

  • Will the 18 recommendations of the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup be included? (People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team came up with a series of detailed implementation plans for these 18 recommendations. These were helpfully rubbished by a councillor).
  • Will there be a timed goal for first the Environmental Dashboard?
  • Will there be an acknowledgement that most of Manchester’s 32 wards don’t have ward plans, and the few that do have no climate mitigation or adaptation element?
  • Will the plan be readable and clear?
  • And will the reports even GO to a scrutiny committee to be discussed?*

Ten days ago Manchester Climate Monthly asked Councillor Jeff Smith if he would be willing to meet to discuss this. He has not yet replied.

What you can do:

  • Write to your councillors, raising these questions.
  • When the first report comes out, read it, come up with questions, send them to your councillors.
  • Come to the next meeting of the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team – Monday 15th December, 7pm at the Friends Meeting House.  The theme of the meeting is “learning public speaking and vide0-making”. If you are interested in both, one, or neither, it will still be a useful meeting for you!

* MCFly doesn’t bet (except an occasional lottery ticket), but if we did we’d put a pony on an accumulator on the following –  no, yes, yes, no, no, no, no, no,no, no, no, no

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“Environmental transitions: perspectives on everyday urban and regional transformation” Thurs Dec 11th

This afternoon seminar, organised by the Centre for Urban Energy and Resilience (CURE) and cities@manchester seeks to explore how lived experiences of nature, community and everyday life challenge linear understandings of social and environmental transition.

Speakers include: Dr Vanesa Castan Broto (University College London) – Experiences of transitions in South Europe: Environments, knowledges, communities Dr Petr Jehlicka (Open University) – Post-socialist household food production: Resistance hidden in plain sight? Dr Saskia Vermeylen (University of Lancaster) – Institutional Conservation Practices and Rhizomatic Contestations in the Kalahari Desert, Namibia Chaired by Dr Andrew Karvonen, University of Manchester

This event is free to attend and open to all but please register your place via Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/environmental-transitions-seminar-tickets-14442508933?utm_campaign=new_eventv2&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=eventurl_text

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Professor Kevin Anderson on the “2 degrees” target #climate #Manchester

Professor Kevin Anderson answering a question on the “two degrees celsius” for global warming- what the goal/duty is, whether it is doable.
Extremely clear (of course) and well worth sharing!!

For background to the controversy, see Real Climate’s blog post on this.

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Protesting in Paris. Really??; Manchester meeting, Fri Nov 28 CANCELLED


At the end of next year there is one of those big international meetings on climate change. You know, the ones that have achieved so much. Like Kyoto… or Copenhagen.  Already there are attempts to get activists “excited” about this.  Ed Miliband himself (who will either be Prime Minister or stacking shelves in Tesco by then) is encouraging people to pile on the pressure.  There is SO much local work that needs doing.  But instead, no, let’s go off and have a jolly.  Let’s alienate people who don’t have the time, money, commitment to do that.  Let’s take up all the oxygen and bandwidth feeding the egos of a few hundred politicians and mediators of dissent.  Yum.   [To be fair, the person who has asked me to publicise this event says it is NOT going to be like that. If someone wants to do a write-up for MCFly, the email address is mcmonthly@gmail.com]

“What links tuition fees, climate change, and student resistance?

Here’s the facebook link
Please join us for the Manchester leg of a UK-wide speaker tour with Jérémie Bédard-Wien from Québec, where students brought down their government when it tried bring in tuition fees.

Jérémie will speak alongside other student and climate activists about how students can get organised locally and internationally in the lead up to the UN’s COP21 climate talks in Paris next year and beyond

We invite friends affiliated with both universities in Manchester to participate in the discussion and start thinking about how we can coordinate student climate action across the UK and internationally.

Organised by the Campaign against Climate Change, Manchester Young Greens, and a growing list of local societies.



Avila House, 335-337 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PG

Arrive at 7.15pm to start at 7.30pm

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What IS a low carbon culture? Report by People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team

reposted from People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team website.

The Manchester Climate Change Action Plan, agreed by the City Council over 5 years ago, calls for the creation of a “low carbon culture”. Oddly, the Council has never defined this, or asked anyone else to. So, a group of citizens, under the banner of the “People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team” has produced a short report on the subject, suggesting things that the Council, its minimally active “Stakeholder Steering Group” and civil society could do to both “talk about” and DO towards the creation of that culture. The full report (12 pages) can be downloaded here. Below is the Executive Summary.

Executive Summary
What is a low carbon culture? We don’t know. This paper of the People’s
Environmental Scrutiny Team is not about giving a final answer. It’s about starting a
process that the Council and its hangers-on have been unwilling or unable to do.
The report;
• Outlines the background to the creation of the term and then justifies its own
• Suggests some reasons why the term has never been defined
• Digresses into “how to explain climate change to anyone.”
• Wrestles (and loses) with the meaning of culture
• Has a top interview with a real live anthropologist (no pith helmet though)
• Reprints some of the answers we got when we asked the question on
facebook and email.
• Reprints a portion of an “implementation plan” sent to Manchester City
Council in February 2014. Which was ignored, of course. Stands up alright
• Closes out with a series of actions that the Council, Civil Society and the Ivory
Tower could take in the short and medium term to start doing AND defining a
“low carbon culture”.

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