Four years after committing to ensure “carbon literacy” for the entire city, Manchester City Council has managed to get only 1/16th of its elected members to undertake a day’s training on the central issue of the 21st century.
The information, contained in a report being discussed next Wednesday, 29th January, tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how much progress has been made over the last four years towards creating an-as-yet undefined “low carbon culture”.
This abject failure also speaks volumes about just how committed the leadership of Manchester City Council is to the nitty-gritty of action, away from big and easy set-pieces such as inviting Professor Kevin Anderson to address full Council.
This latest scandal sits alongside an increase in the Council’s own emissions last year (an increase they tried unsuccessfully to spin as a decrease) and the fact dismal that instead of a thousand “implementation” plans for the “Manchester A Certain Future” plan there are… two. And as for the state of adaptation preparations? Not much has been heard of this since a somewhat underwhelming report two years ago.
The only thing that does seem to have captured the Council’s attention is… the plans to massively expand the “Airport City.”
Contacted for a statement about the extremely low number of “carbon literate” councillors, Dave Coleman and Phil Korbel of “Cooler Projects” (the body that created the carbon literacy programme), told us –
“The Carbon Literacy Project is delighted to see the Council celebrating its first 500 Carbon Literate staff at its “graduation” event in the first week of February. We will work with those staff and the first six Carbon Literate Councillors to enable all their colleagues to follow them in gaining their Carbon Literacy accreditation over the next two years. Councillors in particular have a vital role to play in influencing others in the city to empower themselves to act effectively on the urgent challenge of climate change. The more elected representatives who are Carbon Literate the better, as both they and the Council are better equipped to deliver policy that supports their constituent’s work, health and well-being in the long term….”
This graduation event is on Wednesday 5th February at Manchester Town Hall. Sir Richard Leese will be opening the event, at which there be “a number of stalls for staff to browse over lunchtime, as a ‘green fair’ format of active Manchester organisations to provide staff with information and opportunities for staff to continue their ‘low carbon journey’, all with an interactive element.”
Manchester Climate Monthly has formally requested a stall. We’ll let you know how we get on.
P.S. A careful observer of that report will note that in the first column the recommendation [made in May 2013 at the Economy Scrutiny Committee] is “within twelve months”, followed in the second column by the confident claim “this is currently being rolled out.” Directly underneath that is a timetable that shows they are actually planning to take … a further thirty-eight months to do this (until March 2017), when the deadline for the recommendation is actually May 2014. In a long list of epic fails, to acknowledge a commitment, say it is being “rolled out” and then show it isn’t, all in three sentences, is one of the more epic ones! Bravo!!!
P.P.S. Why not find out if your councillors are carbon literate? If they’re not (and frankly, the odds are pretty fantastic that they are not, then why not find out when they intend to get around to showing the teensy-weensiest bit of leadership.
P.P.P.S. No, I have not undertaken the carbon literacy yet. At the risk (!) of arrogance (!!), I probably know most of that stuff already. I spend more than 8 hours every week on climate change, every week. If I were an elected politician, I would have considered a duty to show some goddam leadership on this.