“Apocalypse Now” says @SirRichardLeese, about Kevin Anderson’s #climate talk to #Manchester City Council #acertainfuture

We don’t make a habit of being a mouthpiece for Labour councillors. Sometimes the blighters won’t even talk to us so we have to suggest a range of answers. However, on Wednesday 30th January Professor Kevin Anderson gave a presentation to them (and the Lib Dems) about just how much trouble the species is in (hint: more than you’d think. Or want to think.) Councillor Suzanne Richards has already written an account. And here below we reprint the words of Richard Leese. If you’ve something to add, you can either add it below on our site, or – more sensibly? – add it on his.

Apocalypse Now

Full Council yesterday. This municipal year every full Council meeting has started with an external speaker on a subject of topical interest. Yesterday Council members were blitzed with a truly shocking and apocalyptic address from Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Energy Programme at the University of Manchester. Professor Anderson is a scientist working in the field of climate change, and what he told us is that a world that is still talking about containing average temperature increases to 2degreesC, is sleep-walking towards 4degreesC and possibly even higher with disastrous consequences for the planet as we know it. It’s not just Kevin that think that as he cited sources, rather sober and conservative sources, like the President of the World Bank, who think similarly.

One of the devices that governments use to put off decision making is the use of 2050 targets for reducing carbon emissions, and Professor Anderson made the point that carbon emitted now will still be in the atmosphere by 2050, and if we want to have any chance of keeping the rise between 2 and 4degrees we have to act now.

We can’t do that by simply bringing in alternative low/no carbon energy supplies. We have to do that but the scale of investment required and the length of time to deliver that would mean that only tackling the supply side would be too late. We need to tackle demand and we can do things about that immediately and that probably means everybody reading this blog. It doesn’t mean everybody. I might not get the figures quite right but around 50% of the emissions in this country are caused by less than 5% of the population and it’s not the poorest in our society. As the recent Great Manchester Poverty Commission Report made clear, a report Professor Anderson described as a report about low carbon people written by high carbon people, there is a fundamental issue of equity here. It is rich people, rich countries that have to turn down the lights.

I’m sure there are other climate change scientists who would take issue with some even much of what Kevin said, but how much of a gamble do we want to take with our future and our childrens future?

This entry was posted by leadersblog@manchester.gov.uk, on 31/01/2013. You can leave your response.

MCFly says – I wonder if Sir Richard is happy with the performance of the Steering* Group – 13 blog posts in 2 years, promised elections then being cancelled, a resolute failure to appoint sub-group headsa 3.5 hour “conference” announced with six week’s notice.   Maybe people would like to ask him if he considers the Group fit for purpose?  And if he thinks it isn’t, what does he think should be done about that, and by whom?

You could ask some of these questions directly, if you liked.

* Clue? Name? Clueless?

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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4 Responses to “Apocalypse Now” says @SirRichardLeese, about Kevin Anderson’s #climate talk to #Manchester City Council #acertainfuture

  1. smalltownguy says:

    Some interesting analysis emerging here with the identification of HCP ( high carbon people) as significant drivers (sic) of emission rates. Wonder what the next step in that line of thinking might be?
    There’s the very large elephant in the room – Manchester Airport Group, with expansion plans for
    ‘Airport City’ , successfully bending the (wholly unnecessary) HS2 route and the recent purchase of Stansted.
    Perhaps Sir Richard will argue that such assets (sic) are best in the hands of a Labour administration than some ruthless commercial enterprise.

  2. The Poverty being suffered by a large number of Manchester resident’s, is a direct result of 13 years of a Labour Government and the poor management by a Labour council. Demolishing hundreds of council homes, just so property developers could make their fortune building energy-inefficient homes-to-buy, was and still is, incompetence of the highest order. As for targets, if Leese was serious about combating climate change, he could of started years ago. Retrofitting the council houses to the highest standards instead of demolishing them, for a start. Not building the second runway and expanding the freight terminal are other actions, his council could of taken. Switching off needless lights on council buildings, would be a shining example of them doing the right thing. The list of what he and his council could be doing is endless. All, he can ever do is make excuses and blame the Government, including the last Labour Government. Even when the council was found, on several occasions were found to be unable to account for a considerable amount of EU grants.

  3. Dave Bishop says:

    Getting a lecture from Sir Richard on climate change is like listening to a lumberjack extol the virtue of trees whilst ‘blipping’ the motor of his chainsaw or being told by a chicken strangler that poultry have a right to life!

  4. Pingback: #Manchester City Council has 96 councillors. How many are “carbon literate”? 6. | manchester climate monthly

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