Bluffer’s guide to #climate (local, national, international) for 2022…

tl:dr – if we don’t do things differently, we will probably get the same results (1). We probably, for well understood reasons (see “smugosphere,” emotacycles, abeyance) will not. But keep your eyes open and you’ll have a good view of the pending ecological debacle…

UPDATE: I have added a couple of very salient points, in red (h/t Wolfgang Huber). If you have other big things that are happening, let me know.

Manchester Climate Monthly is going to be a relatively intermittent thing from here on. There’s a backlog of fun Freedom of Information Act requests to put up and publicise, and maybe a few other things. But on the whole, because I am leaving Manchester, and because there isn’t really an “audience” for this stuff, this site will mostly be a legacy thang.

There was a time (2011-2013) when we (and it was we, then) interviewed various groups about the year gone and the year ahead. Seems pointless now,, tbh.

Before we introduce the table of the year ahead (and see John Crace’s predictions) and then conclude with “final [ha, promises promises!] thoughts, should flag that there ARE some groups doing fine stuff in Manchester on climate, among the zombie outfits and the council figleaf outfits – see for example Kindling Trust, Carbon Coop, Wythenshawe Waste Warriors, Steady State Manchester, Stitched Up, and Climate Emergency Manchester. If you’ve time and energy, you could do worse than get involved in one or two of them.

Locally, at the Council level the undermining of Bev Craig (new leader) will continue, with various proxy wars going on. This is about personality and patronage opportunities, not ideology, so the picture for climate activists is confusing and mixed. Officers will be busy ducking and covering. There will be even less than no money. With the “carbon budget” concept in tatters, expect higher levels of bullshit, rather than any assessment of the hole we are in, how we got in it and what would be needed to get out.

At some point there will be a retreat (managed? announced? from the fiction that is the carbon “budget.” The Manchester Climate “Agency” will be the fig-leaf, with the “Partnership” playing some sort of Judas Goat role, or sacrificial lamb. Who knows. Most likely there will be a new promise to replace the old (as per Andy Burnham at the recent Summit”) and a new glossy document with new pictures of blonde moppets and people of colour produced. Perhaps to tie in with a consultation about the (much-delayed ‘Local Plan’). The Council will continue to rubberstamp skyscrapers and “develop” green spaces wherever it can. It seems genuinely affronted by any blade of grass that can’t pay its way.

At the GM level, well, grab your popcorn for the implementation of the Clean Air Zone – there’s a growing backlash against it

As for the “activists”, well, the picture is bleak af. Most of the remaining local groups that aren’t (un)dead will struggle to recruit and even to retain. Expect proclamations of imminent radical action that turns out to be standing in front of a building holding a stupid placard. As the months roll on, those proclamations will get quieter and less frequent. Few people will do the slog-work of trying to change the system (from without or within), and as the months pass, their morale will – everything else being equal – deteriorate, as will their capacity to act. That’s what is called, in the trade, a death spiral. (It’s not necessarily inevitable, but can only be avoided with conscious, strategic, clever action. So, given this city and arena 3, probably inevitable. See ‘abeyance’ below.)

Nationally, the problem for the Tories is a new and “credible” leader. The local elections, so often a referendum on nation affairs, will be the final blow for Johnson (probably), if he isn’t already gone. Expect more rhetoric about ‘levelling up’ and also decarbonisation (‘net zero’), but as the year progresses these will be revealed to be promises without money or policy settings behind them. There won’t be any big recantation, just a gradual death by a thousand cuts. The government might conceivably set up a “net zero delivery unit” but it will be either the plaything of Treasury or attacked by everyone as an invasion of their turf (or both, obviously). Labour will not make climate one of its top five attack points. Why would it – the issue doesn’t really have salience with swing voters it needs.

In the summer (August) BEIS release local authority data which will probably show that in many local authorities co2 emissions went up last year – “HashtagAwkward” as the young people used to say (text)

The UK holds the Presidency of the UNFCCC until COP27 in Egypt, but is unlikely to lift that many fingers to do much, now they’ve ticked the “hold successful COP” off their list. None of the leading candidates to replace Johnson give a flying… pig… about climate, btw.

The UK climate “movement” will struggle to gain traction, having missed its moment to build anything (2019-2021) and the economic crisis worsens (it’s already horrific for millions upon millions). The passage of the extremely authoritarian anti-democracy legislation(s) through parliament will offer the state more powers. It will use some of them all of the time, and most of them some of the time… The frog will keep boiling.

Internationally the Big Things are a) the release of a couple more IPCC 6th Assessment reports (working groups 2 and 3, and then the synthesis report. Expect more proclamations of ‘code incarnadine for humanity.’ At the end of the year the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change lands in Egypt, for another attempt to “keep 1.5 alive. Yeah, right.

Expect “natural” disasters and the deaths of millions of basically blameless poor people (of colour). Expect record breaking temperatures and the next 52 weeks of the Sixth Great Extinction.

MonthLocalNationalInternational
JanScrutiny committees will tokenistically talk about climate change, in a superficial, finger-pointing and one-off prophylaxis kinda way, then studiously ignore it again.A nationally audible squelch as the damp squib that is the “Levelling Up” white paper hits the regions in the face
Feb
MarchCouncil budget “process” culminates with Budget council Climate “framework” “2.0” will be pushed through scrutiny, rubber-stamped and largely forgotten/ignored
April“Purdah” kicks in, by Manchester Labour will abuse their access to Council equipment/status, as they did last year, and the officers will look the other way, as they did last year.Energy price hike will lead to more misery for millions upon millions.
MayLocal elections – Labour to edge to a 95-1 majority on the council. Local elections – if (when) Tories do badly, if Johnson is still around, he won’t be for long – Truss, Sunak, Hunt, Gove, Patel?
JuneManchester Histories “The History of Climate Change” Thursday 9 June to Sunday 12
JulyThe third anniversary (July 10) of the Climate Emergency declaration will pass un-noticed. Or perhaps the Council will chose this day to blame everyone else for the irretrievable blowing of the city’s 15 million tonne carbon budget.Sixth Assessment Report Synthesis released? Dunno. Wild guess.
AugEverything shuts down, politically. Except if Bev Craig has not been dislodged. The fighting will continue if she’s still there.BEIS release emissions data. Various local authority areas with egg on face.
SeptCouncil – Selection of candidates for 2023 local elections. Expect intra-Labour blood-shedding (only metaphorical. Probably).Party conference season (Manchester is spared)
Oct
NovMid-terms in USA. Republicans to win, steal elections as a warm up for 2024…
8-17 Nov, COP27 in Egypt
Dec

What to watch for.

Abeyance. It will bite you on the ass. The sense that the caravan has moved on, that nothing was learned by anyone, that nothing has changed, that everybody knows the war is over and everybody knows the good guys lost. That’s when the abyss does some its best staring, and if you don’t have friends and prescription sunglasses, watch out.

Ridiculous “radical” responses to abeyance, involving exhortations, guilt-tripping and simulacrum-nostalgia stuff.

Fatigue. Guilt. The usual brew.

What is needed (but probably won’t happen)

A group/groups willing to perform “services to the ‘movement'” in Manchester, competently, consistently, fairly and thoroughly, without being a vanguard, or an enabler. Maintaining a calendar, situational awareness (at a monthly level?) Will CEM do this? Someone else? Who knows.

Compassion for ourselves and each other, as we slouch towards Calvary, waiting to be crucified. We tried (sorta). We failed (defo). We gotta keep trying (obvs), innovating (double-obvs), but the whole dead man trudging thing is a thing…

Footnote

(1) Of course, we are very likely to get the same result (nasty, very) regardless of what we do – matters may largely be even further out of control than our standard illusions allow for. This, as if it needs repeating, is the human condition. Especially these days.

Posted in Preparedness | 1 Comment

New paper – MCFly (2021) ““Eco-Socialism Without Guarantees” Journal of Studies, Vol 1, 1

“Eco-Socialism Without Guarantees”

Dr M. MCFly (independent scholar)

Abstract:

We’re toast. That has been clear for quite some time. Who gets to count as “we” is of course of for debate, and how the toast-i-ness came to be “a thing” (as the young people used to say) is another question. But rather than admit that, we keep pretending there’s a new Saviour gonna go all Deus Ex Machina on our sorry doomed asses. Now that we’ve given up on the working classes, the peasants, da yoof and technology, somehow “climate change” is gonna short-circuit the circuits of extractivism and exploitation.

Keywords: Anthropocene, extractivism, more-than-human and whatever other buzzwords are faddish right now.

Introduction

We’re toast (and continues in this vein, padding out the abstract for a bit. Grand Societal Challenges blah blah. Urgency of climate action. Theories of transformation (throw in some MLP?)

This article proceeds as follows… (grab first sentences of next sections)

Methodology

I quote mined some books that have been sitting unread on my shelves for yonks. Neither engaged with nor critiqued their assumptions. Raid google books too. Quick recap of the 19th to early 21st centuries. Bish bosh.


Findings/Discussion

None of the historical actors has met expectations – they all fluffed their lines, got booed off stage, or bombed off it. The Modern Prince turned out to be a frog even after being kissed. Turns out “we” are toast who knew, eh? So it goes

Turns out the organised working class got crushed or bought off,

The peasants are too far from the metropole, and can be exterminated, their movements crushed, the populace diverted into various forms of pie in the sky, a comprador elite installed and kept in power. Meanwhile, it was worse when we turned to the kids on the left and got let down again by some poor excuse for protest, as the song goes.

The school strikes etc have – who coulda guessed it – turned out to be spasms of “why can’t we have the nice things?”, as anyone with two neurons to rub together would have known.

But you don’t get grants, publications, citations for saying “we’re toast” so instead academics keep inventing words for post-industrial disease (that’s another song reference, since we’re all in dire straits). And meanwhile, as a “public intellectual” you don’t get book contracts or speaking gigs for saying “we’re toast”, so they keep inventing new ways of saying “the cat should wear a bell” while never bothering to investigate while all the previous mouse meetings went nowhere.
Conclusion

We’re toast, and the soi-disant pissant academic “radicals” have helped not a jot. So it goes.


References.

Yeah, throw in some Haraway, Gramsci, Karl, Foster, do some citational erasure of scholars of colour while passing their work of as your own, make sure you cite the editorial board of the journal you’re submitting to, because chances are they are doing the desk review and possibly the actual peer review.

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Advertising, Climate Emergencies and @ManCityCouncil flogging the pavements to capitalists.

In July 2019 Manchester City Council declared a climate emergency, forced into it by local activists and FOMO – other big cities in the UK had already done so. Everything was going to change, oh yes.

Recently, Manchester City Council signed a £3m contract with the outdoors advertising company JC Decaux. For the coming years (how many?) pedestrians will have to blot out and dodge (physically, cognitively) videoscreens telling them to Buy More Shit.

Because Buying More Shit is what we all have to do to get The Economy going again, apparently. Who cares about the environmental consequences, amirite?

From blipverts to Badverts.

Here’s a FOIA.

Dear Sir/Madam

re: contract with JC Decaux for further visual and mental pollution of the streets

I am interested in the city council’s negotiations over this contract.

In response to a tweet on December 17th raising concerns about the Council’s tacit endorsement of bitcoin

https://twitter.com/cnorthwood/status/1471863910059982854

Someone from the Comms Team (which, let’s remind ourselves, thinks that 11 is more than half of 50, when it comes to carbon literacy training) replied on December 20


Hi Chris, Thanks for tagging us. @JCDecaux_UK run the adverts on their digital screens and will be able to advise

Presumably the Council will continue to punt on the morality of all this, so I am curious as to the original “thinking”
1. Was there any minuted discussion within The City Council  – between officers, between officers and Executive Members, between Executive Members – of the any legal liability arising from what is advertised on the displays, as per the December 17th tweet by Chris.  If so, please provide copies of those discussions/discussion documents

2. Was there any minuted discussion (same groups) of the morality, aside from legal responsibility, of encouraging further consumption/consumerism during a climate emergency?  If so, please provide copies of those discussions/discussion documents

3. During the negotiations with JC Decaux, did the Council propose to have any veto over what could be displayed?  If so, a) please provide a copy of what MCC proposed andb) what was JC Decaux’s response? (just summarise it, since that reply is probably covered by commercial confidentiality, innit?

4. When is the contract up for renewal?

5. Is further pollution of public space to be scrutinised by any scrutiny committee, ever? If so, which one will it be? 

6. Oh, and what risk assessments were conducted about distracting drivers, further light pollution for wild life and cluttering pavements to the detriment of the mobility of pedestrians and wheelchair users?  Please provide copies.


Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Posted in Manchester City Council | 1 Comment

Manchester City Council forced to admit no progress on “journey” to low carbon asphalt (more to follow)

Manchester City Council’s Highways Department has been forced to admit, again, it is not doing anything about switching to low-carbon asphalt.

In response to a request for more complete information the Council has conceded, in response to the question

What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? 

At this time there is no information available to share with you regarding the use of different resurfacing materials.

Last week MCFly revealed that the Council’s Highways Department had done nothing in the last seven months on the this, which other local authorities ARE working on.

Their reply to a FOIA had of course incomplete. In November MCFly had asked

Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going? What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? How are these being quantified? How are they being reported and scrutinised?

The Council chose only to answer the last question.

The Council produces quarterly and annual progress reports which summarise activity to deliver its Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25. These are reported to the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee (the Quarter 3 report will be considered at the meeting on 13 January 2022 and published on the Council’s website. Quarterly Progress Reports | Zero Carbon Manchester | Manchester City Council

This is fairly typical. They hope that you won’t notice, or that if you do, you will give up. If you do notice, and you don’t give up – if you write to them requesting information informally, they then wait to see if you will follow up that informal request.

MCFly is done with that, so wrote back as follows

Thanks you for your reply to this. It is however incomplete, and in fact merely a typical fobbing off. I asked four questions within question two. You only replied to (did not answer) the fourth of them. We both know that MCC Highways Department inaction on climate change has not been scrutinised by the largely hopeless and entirely Labour Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee.

So, I repeat the questions

  • Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going?
  • What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero?
  • How are these being quantified? 

Doubtless you will send me a stock response along the lines of “we are looking into this and will get back to you in due course.” Let me be clear: if you have not responded, in detail, by the close of play on Friday 17th December, I will be submitting a request for an internal review. I sincerely hope, however, that this is not necessary. It depends on you actually answering all the questions that were in the initial FOIA.

I will also be submitting a follow-up FOIA about the correspondence between MCC and other councils about this matter.

And lo, on Friday 17th December, I got the “answers.”

And the answers reveal that the word “journey” was code for “we’re doing nothing. Piss off, oik.”

Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going? 

Manchester City Council Highways do not have carbon targets involving surfacing materials at this moment in time.

What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? 

At this time there is no information available to share with you regarding the use of different resurfacing materials.

How are these being quantified? 

Manchester City Council Highways do not have any information available at this moment in time.

Oh, and MCFly has submitted the following FOIA –

Dear Sir/Madam,
in response to FOIA 6190, (on procurement of low carbon asphalt) I was told that

“Manchester City Council Highways Service are still working through target setting. This needs to align with the Manchester Climate Change Agency as well as Greater Manchester wide partners to ensure there is a consistent approach and the reporting, measuring, and monitoring of these targets’ feeds into the overall bigger picture. “

I am writing therefore to request 

1) copies of the correspondence pertaining to low carbon asphalt procurement between MCC Highways Department’s relevant/responsible officer(s) and 

a) MCCA

b) the relevant Executive Member with responsibility for Highways

c) the referenced “Greater Manchester wide partners”

for the period, oh, let’s say 1st September 2021 to the present, which pertain to the creation of this very impressive-sounding  “consistent approach and the reporting, measuring, and monitoring of these targets’ feeds into the overall bigger picture”

2) Minutes of meetings at which the creation of a consistent approach and … picture” were discussed, and action points raised.

3) Correspondence between MCC Highways and external to Greater Manchester bodies about this matter

My final question is

4) What is the anticipated date for the creation of a target? Perhaps it will be July 10 2022, the third anniversary of the declaration of a Climate Emergency. Or July 10 2029, the 10th anniversary.

Please do consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Watch this space. And maybe the outfits that claim to be doing investigative journalism could do some.

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Manchester City Council #climate boss has no plans to ask “partnership” members to do owt, refuses to explain why she is not holding emergency summits.

Manchester City Council has been forced to admit that it has no plans to ask members of the so-called climate change “partnership” to even put information about the climate emergency on their websites. Further, the Council is refusing to explain why it is not holding any emergency summits with business, faith or community leaders about the massive carbon budget blow out.

In 2018 Manchester City Council created a “Climate Change Partnership”. This partnership has done half of sod-all, beyond providing a convenient fig-leaf and “spread the blame” function for the Council. Even getting a list of which organisations are members is difficult, with the director of the Climate Change “Agency” stonewalling elected members for two months.

Climate Emergency Manchester checked out the websites of the partnership members it could find, and – as per last year – most had got nothing about climate change on the home pages of their website.

Manchester City Council gave only a partial answer to a Freedom of Information Act request (see here). It was invited to give a more complete reply, and so avoid an internal review. It said it would. It didn’t. After 8 days, it was given a one day deadline. And lo, there was a reply (albeit not an answer). These are the lengths they go to try to hide inconvenient information. And the information is this:

on the last question, concerning contacting the Partnership members about their websites, I asked if there were any plans to do so. The response provided did not answer that part of my question.

There are currently no recorded plans to do this.

The FOIA had also revealed that the Executive Member for the Environment has held precisely zero meetings with business, faith or community leaders about the lack of adequate action on climate change. This despite the awkward fact that Manchester has burned through 6 million of its 15 million tonnes (40% of its carbon budget) for the entire 21st century in the last three years. Here the Council hides behind the EIR, knowing that nobody will try to hold them to account on the politics, since 94 of the 96 councillors are Labour.

For the questions about emergency summits, if you look again, you will see that it says “if not, why not.” At no point is there any explanation given for the lack of an emergency summit. It may be that in some cases the Executive Member heard on the grapevine that, for example, the business community wasn’t interested, or that faith leaders thought that prayer would be enough. It may be that she was too busy doing other things. Whatever it is, I would like to [sic] answers to each of those questions.
 

Response :An Environmental Information Regulations request is about recorded information. An authority is not under a duty to create information, to form a view or to provide an opinion in order to respond to a request. It is only in situations where a view has been formed and recorded that it will fall within the scope of the Regulations. Therefore, the above information does not fall within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

So, the Executive Member has held no meetings with business, faith or community leaders about emergency action on climate change. She has no intention of doing so, it seems. She has not contacted members of the climate “partnership” to get them to put climate change on their websites. She has no plans to do so.

Three obvious questions: Why is she being paid 34 thousand pounds per annum? What does she think the job IS? Does the Labour Group think she is the right person for the job?

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Manchester Council Highways department STILL doing nothing about low-carbon asphalt, dodging FOIA

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that Manchester City Council is still dragging its feet on all aspects of the so–called “Climate Emergency” it was forced to declare in July 2019. There has been NO progress on procuring low carbon asphalt, despite promises eight months ago of imminent action.

Despite stirring claims that “everything would change” and that Manchester was and would continue to be a “leader”, even the most basic and obvious of changes are not enacted. Not accelerated carbon literacy, not climate as a standing item on Exec meetings, or on the front page of the Council’s website. Nada, zilch, nothing.

Still, given the total lack of any emergency meetings by the Executive Member for the Environment about the massive carbon budget blow out, is anyone really surprised?

In April, the Manchester Evening News published a letter from MCFly’s editor about other councils being far ahead on procurring low carbon asphalt

And a month ago MCFly submitted a FOIA. Today we got the response (which does not amount to an answer)

1. Does MCC, 7 months later, NOW have a target/targets? If so, what is it/are they, when were they set, by who, when will they be reported on. If not, why not and is any planned.

Manchester City Council Highways Service are still working through target setting. This needs to align with the Manchester Climate Change Agency as well as Greater Manchester wide partners to ensure there is a consistent approach and the reporting, measuring, and monitoring of these targets’ feeds into the overall bigger picture. 

2. Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going? What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? How are these being quantified? How are they being reported and scrutinised?

The Council produces quarterly and annual progress reports which summarise activity to deliver its Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25. These are reported to the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee (the Quarter 3 report will be considered at the meeting on 13 January 2022 and published on the Council’s website. Quarterly Progress Reports | Zero Carbon Manchester | Manchester City Council

To which the reply is as follows

Dear Sir/Madam

re: FOI/6190

Thanks you for your reply to this. It is however incomplete, and in fact merely a typical fobbing off. I asked four questions within question two. You only replied to (did not answer) the fourth of them. We both know that MCC Highways Department inaction on climate change has not been scrutinised by the largely hopeless and entirely Labour Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee.

So, I repeat the questions

  • Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going?
  • What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero?
  • How are these being quantified? 

Doubtless you will send me a stock response along the lines of “we are looking into this and will get back to you in due course.” Let me be clear: if you have not responded, in detail, by the close of play on Friday 17th December, I will be submitting a request for an internal review. I sincerely hope, however, that this is not necessary. It depends on you actually answering all the questions that were in the initial FOIA.

I will also be submitting a follow-up FOIA about the correspondence between MCC and other councils about this matter.

Yours sincerely.

[etc etc]

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

#Manchester Council continues to lie about #climate change

Manchester City Council has once again released fundamentally misleading information about climate change. This will come as no surprise to anyone who remembers that its Comms Team was recently caught lying about its own “carbon literacy” status. (They claimed the “majority” of the team had completed its training. Further inquiries revealed only 11 of 50 had).

The latest misleading bullshit is contained in a so-called “State of the City” report, released yesterday.

There are 11 mentions of “carbon budget” in the torrent of bright-siding and gaslighting. Two are worth of note.

On page 15 there is an admission

Much later we get some soothing nonsense

Despite a semi-honest graph, nowhere does the report mention the basic fact that the city has burned through 6 million tonnes of its 15 million budget in the last 3 years.

That would reveal bankruptcies. These are of

a) the carbon budget

b) the morality, intellect and courage of the Council “leadership”

These evasions, this swerving are familiar to anyone watching Boris Johnson talk about wallpaper, or Christmas parties/”gatherings.” But because this is Manchester, and people refuse to see what is being done to them (because to see it, and say it, would be so costly) here we are.

Meanwhile, the Executive Member for the Environment has met with precisely nobody to try to organise this “collective and urgent action” that is written of. (By the way, we only know this thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. The Exec Member is not being held to account by the councillors on the “scrutiny” committee, all of whom are of the same party as her.)

And the “scrutiny committees” contain lots of members who just turn up, sit there in silence playing on their phones, collect their money and piss off. But there’s no upside for asking a question – either it’s a soft one and they are revealed as spineless crawlers or else it’s a real question and they incur the wrath of the leadership. Safest option is to sit there playing on their phones. So that’s what they do.

We should stop calling it scrutiny and rename it sham-ity.

Soon, the Council will have to stop pretending on the carbon budget (it was interesting that in her first speech as new Council boss Bev Craig used the date 2050 instead of 2038. Are they going to try to buy themselves some wiggle room by moving back to the notional national zero-carbon date?

Meanwhile, the task for citizens remains the same – to use what rights haven’t yet been outlawed to hold elected and unelected leaders to account, to speak truth not to power but about it, and to make it easier rather than harder for time and info-poor citizens to be meaningfully engaged in meaningful efforts. That means no smugospheres, no emotacycles, no up-like-a-rocket-down-like-a-stick “organisations”.

Not gonna happen though, is it?

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Job Alert- Sustainability Manager for “Green Space Dark Skies” deadline 20th December

Cool job with Walk the Plank

Sustainability Manager – Green Space Dark Skies (part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK)

1 x Freelance Position

Project Fee: £24,000 (fixed fee, for approx. 10-15 days pcm, Jan 22 – Oct 22)

Flexible, with some office-based working required. (We are based at Cobden Works, Salford)

The Sustainability Manager is a key position within the Green Space Dark Skies Production Team and will be responsible for the effective implementation of the GSDS Sustainability Strategy across the scope of the whole project, ensuring effective planning and management of the UK-wide monitoring and reporting activity necessary for successful and efficient delivery of the project’s significant sustainability aims and ambitions.

THE PROJECT

Green Space Dark Skies is a Walk the Plank project that has been commissioned by Unboxed: Creativity in the UK – one of 10 groundbreaking commissions designed to reach millions, bring people together, and showcase UK creativity globally, underpinned by three values: to be open, original and optimistic.

Green Space Dark Skies will see up to 24 spectacular events in the landscape embedded in a 12-month programme of engagement that celebrates the contemporary landscapes of Britain while also flinging open the doors and welcoming people in. The project is UK wide: 13 events in England, four in Scotland, four in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

Green Spaces Dark Skies places environmental sustainability at its core, aiming to deliver significant positive social and environmental impact for all. We aim to be a carbon net-positive project, combining exemplar low-emissions production with climate investments benefiting nature and communities.

KEY QUALITIES

  • Self-starter used to working on own initiative.
  • Good understanding of environmental sustainability and event industry best practice.
  • An appreciation of the value of data and with a keen eye for detail.
  • Methodical working.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Able to advocate for the project and to engage with a range of stakeholders as necessary.
  • Able to be entrepreneurial and willing to innovate.
  • A passion for sustainable working and committed to inclusive practice, with evidence of promoting inclusive working in previous roles.

How To Apply

Please visit our website to read the Job Pack for full opportunity details and a detailed role description before applying. To apply send your current CV together with a supporting statement (created as a single PDF or Word document) to recruitment@walktheplank.co.uk

Deadline for Application Submissions: Monday 20th December, 12noon GMT

Informal interviews: week commencing 3rd January at Cobden Works, Walk the Plank’s offices (Cobden Works, 37 – 41 Cobden St, Salford M6 6WF)

If you would like to arrange an informal chat about this role, please contact Nathan Jackson, Head of Production on recruitment@walktheplank.co.uk

Posted in Job Alert | Leave a comment

Council environment “leader” holds takes no emergency action on carbon budget blow out.

The person in charge of Manchester’s response to climate change had held precisely ZERO meetings about getting the city vaguely close to its carbon-cutting emissions.

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed the shocking fact that the Executive Member for the Environment, Tracy Rawlins, has not held any emergency meetings about the carbon budget blowout with faith leaders, business leaders or, well, anyone.

In November 2018 Manchester City Council and its Climate “Partnership” announced that Manchester was to be a zero carbon city by 2038. They were very keen to get loads of publicity for this. In July 2019 the Council, after pressure from activists, declared a climate emergency and added ” or sooner” to that aspiration.

The carbon budget for the city is 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, to last for the rest of the 21st century. The latest figures, known to the Council for several months, and snuck out in September and November, reveal – once you’ve found the buried information and decoded the deliberately hard-to-understand graphs – that in the last 3 years, even with COVID dampening economic activity, the city has burnt … 6 million tonnes. That’s 40% of the budget for 80 years…

If the Council cared about the carbon budget, or was planning to do more than hide behind its own “cuts” (mostly an artefact of austerity), it would be holding regular emergency meetings with various stakeholders, left, right and centre. Instead, well, read it and weep.

On November 4th I wrote to them

Dear Sir/Madam,

recently a spokesperson for the Council  conceded that
“We fully recognise that while the city as a whole has seen year-on-year reductions in its carbon emissions these have not yet been sufficient to say that Manchester is on the right trajectory to meet the citywide 2038 target.”

That got left out of their response, which continues below

Dear Marc Hudson

Re: Request for Information – Actions by Executive Member for the Environment– Reference Number: FOI/6021

Thank you for your request for information, which was received by Manchester City Council on 04/11/2021 and has been considered under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the EIR”).

You have requested the following information:

I want to know, in the past 5 months, since becoming Executive Member for the Environment,  what action has Tracey Rawlins taken to help organisations in the city get on this “right trajectory”.  

Has she held any emergency summits with fellow Executive Members and/or members of the Council’s SMT? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes. If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with fellow Executive Members and/or members of the Council’s SMT. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with businesses leaders? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes? If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with business leaders. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with faith leaders? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes? If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with faith leaders. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with community leaders? If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes? If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with community leaders. None are currently planned. 

Has she held any emergency summits with members of the Climate Change “Partnership” under the banner of the Partnership.  If so, on what dates, who attended, what were the outcomes. If not, why not, and are any planned? 

Response: There are no records of the Executive member the Executive Member for the Environment holding meetings entitled ’emergency summits’ held with members of the Climate Change “Partnership” under the banner of the Partnership. None are currently planned. 

Has she asked the Partnership to display the existence of climate change and the need to take urgent local action on their websites? If so, when did she ask this and what were the replies. If not, why not, and does she ever intend to do so. 

Response: There are no records of the the Executive Member for the Environment asking the Partnership to display the existence of climate change and the need to take urgent local action on their websites. 

So, what action HAS the Executive Member taken since getting the gig? It’s hard to say. Note also that in each occasion we asked “if not, why not” and there has been no answer to that on any of the questions. So, will ask for them to clarify this, and if not, will go to internal review… Here’s the email I just sent back

Dear Mr Kershner,

thank you for your reply to this FOIA.

If at all possible, I would like to avoid an internal review.

I would like complete answers to all the questions. None has in fact been comprehensively answered.

For the questions about emergency summits, if you look again, you will see that it says “if not, why not.”  At no point is there any explanation given for the lack of an emergency summit. It may be that in some cases the Executive Member heard on the grapevine that, for example, the business community wasn’t interested, or that faith leaders thought that prayer would be enough. It may be that she was too busy doing other things.  Whatever it is, I would like to answers to each of those questions.

In addition, on the last question, concerning contacting the Partnership members about their websites, I asked if there were any plans to do so. The response provided did not answer that part of my question.

Please let me know in the next 48 hours if you intend to provide this information. If I do not hear from you, I will assume that you are not going to do so, and will – with reluctance – pursue the internal review option.


Yours sincerely
Marc Hudson

Posted in Manchester City Council | Leave a comment

Brilliant new report on “#Manchester Airport versus the Carbon Budget”

Climate Emergency Manchester (1) has released a brilliant 15 page report pointing out that an expanding airport (Manchester City Council owns 35.5%, btw) is not compatible with reaching the emissions reductions we need to.

You can read their blog post (and access the report itself) here.

Please share widely in all your networks.

Next Thursday, 9th December, the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee of Manchester City Council meets. Will they allow CEM to speak? Time will tell.

Footnotes

(1) Full disclosure – I was a co-founder/core group member. I left the group in November 2021 because I’m out of here soon.

Posted in Manchester Airport, Manchester City Council | Leave a comment