City Council’s emissions would have risen but for accountancy measure. Aviation emissions also up. MCFly editor Marc Hudson reports.
The latest annual carbon reduction plan of Manchester City Council will come under the spotlight next Tuesday, 16th July. The Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee (see video) will meet at 2pm in the Town Hall, and look closely at last year’s efforts and the plan for the years ahead. The meeting is open to the public, and many Manchester residents are expressing an interest in attending. There is a “pre-meeting” organised by Manchester Climate Monthly from 12.45pm at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St.
Last year’s official plan spoke of a 10% reduction target in the Council’s own emissions, as part of the wider “Manchester Climate Change Action Plan” created in 2009. The “achieved” result was a 7% reduction. On closer examination however, much of this reduction is due to an accounting measure.
Traffic signalling contributed 6,521 tonnes of C02 in 2011-2. The report states “the contract for traffic control signalling and signage network has been transferred from MCC to TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester), providing the most significant proportion of the savings achieved this year.”
In fact, that amount is higher than all the rest of the savings made, so if traffic signally still “belonged” to Manchester, the actual percentage reduction would be … an increase of 1, 177 tonnes.
This sort of “windfall” will not be repeated, and does not actually reduce the overall emissions of Greater Manchester. As the report itself concedes “while this represents a carbon saving to the City Council, this does not constitute a net saving to the city’s overall emissions.”
Also of note is a dramatic rise in aviation emissions from 60 tonnes to 89 tonnes. According to the report;
“In 2012/13 emissions from air travel accounted for 0.1% of total MCC emissions, but within that there was a 48% increase from 2011/12 due largely to the exceptional events surrounding Manchester’s contribution to the London 2012 cultural festival. The We Face Forward exhibition included artists from 7 West African countries resulting in a temporary increase in flight bookings. The exhibition had a strong environmental theme highlighting the devastation of West Africa for Western commercial need, and received substantial positive media coverage. All flight costs were covered by external exhibition sponsorship, however it does raise awareness of the need to consider the full impact of otherwise very positive cultural activities. Other flights included those made as a result of contractual obligations to European Commission funded projects where tele/videoconferencing could not be used on those occasions.”
This scrutiny meeting is taking place during the Manchester International Festival.
From next year the annual carbon budget process will be changed to a three year plan with “annual milestones.” It remains vital that activists engage pro-actively and constructively with individual members of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee which has primary (but not exclusive) responsibility for examining the Council’s environmental performance and leadership.