Professor Kevin Anderson has spoken(1) to MCFly, ahead of his presentation tomorrow morning to the full Council meeting of Manchester City Council. (2) In the interview he pointed out that “the industrial revolution began [in Manchester] and then spread across the planet. So maybe again we could have a green revolution … which would not just be all about technology, but technology and behaviour, policies, politics, economics – a revolution around those agendas.”
His presentation will cover the causes and impacts of climate change, before turning to the need for very very steep reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide from burning oil, coal and gas. The presentation, which is scheduled to last 35 minutes and be followed by a question and answer session with councillors, will also pose the question about whether a growth economy is compatible with the kinds of reductions we need to keep global warming to an “acceptable” level.
Council Leader Richard Leese has invited Professor Anderson to give an updated version of his presentation to a conference held last May on Manchester’s need to adapt to the coming changes in weather patterns. Professor Anderson will update his previous work, with references to a series of stark reports released since then, by organisations such as the World Bank and PWC.
A full transcript of the interview will appear tonight. Here’s a teaser –
Devil’s Advocate question – “surely there’s little we can do at a local level? – it’s all an international and perhaps a national problem.” What would you say if someone said to that?
Anderson: My first thought is that industrialisation has spread around the world, and that started in Manchester, so it does appear that you can actually start something in one place. In fact we have very good empirical evidence that you can … in the North of England, around the Manchester region, where the industrial revolution began, and that spread across the planet. So maybe again we could have a green revolution … which would not just be all about technology, but technology and behaviour, policies, politics, economics – a revolution around those agendas.
“It could be started and triggered in Manchester. We already know that some people elsewhere in the world are starting to drive in this direction, so it wouldn’t be that Manchester was on its own. There’s already quite a lot of groups, and sometimes towns, and sometimes cities that are starting to move in this direction. So it’s a matter of finding your bedfellows elsewhere in the world and trying to coalesce around a similar agenda and lead by example. I think Manchester could easily lead by example. It’s the choice between being the sheepdog or the sheep, and Manchester can make a decision about which way it wants to go on that.”
(1) The Manchester City Council press office was asked (twice) last Thursday to provide a statement. As of close of play Monday they’d still not done so. In these circumstances it’s always best to put to reach for the explanation of “cock-up”. If, however, it is “conspiracy” we say this – guys, if you’re worried that we will run a headline “Council takes 8 months to schedule a talk after climate expert says ‘yes, I’ll come’” then, well, chillax; there are plenty of genuine things for us to berate the Council for. This ‘delay’ is not one of them.
(2) The meeting is held in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall (Albert Square) from 10am. It is free, open to the public and you do NOT need to book. You will NOT have the right to ask questions. Come prepared to lobby!