The short version: Manchester City Council, whose own emissions are UP, is not scrutinising its own climate performance, and YOU can help change that by contacting your councillors.
Meanwhile, things are even worse than reported yesterday; Manchester is missing its reductions targets by EVEN MORE than the council motion indicates.
In 2009, in the run up to the Copenhagen Climate Talks (1) Manchester City Council engaged with “stakeholders” to create Climate Change Action Plan. The plan had two headline goals – a reduction of Manchester’s carbon emissions by 41% by 2020, and the creation of a “low carbon culture.” The council is doing nothing to help that low carbon culture into existence, and nor is the so-called “Stakeholder Steering Group”, the official group set up in 2010. The only people attempting to even define the term “low carbon culture” are the “People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team.”
Meanwhile, the carbon reduction goal is going to be missed by an ever growing margin. In an ambiguously worded motion to full Council on Wednesday, it was mentioned that “forecast reduction has now been scaled back to 27%”.
That’s bad enough, but in the process of getting clarification of this from the aforementioned Steering Group, MCFly has been told the following;
“The 27% figure is actually taken from the MACF Annual Report 2014, based on the data we had at the time. Since then MACF has produced a revised trajectory based on more recent Government data, showing a 22.6% reduction trajectory by 2020. ”
So. No low carbon culture – which was talked up as the more important goal, to help make the deeper cuts beyond 2020 possible.
No really significant reductions in Manchester’s own emissions.
Manchester City Council’s own internal emissions? Going UP on the same time last year.
Manchester City Council’s scrutiny process – not even planning to discuss the increase in its own emissions.
Thank goodness the climate talks in Lima, Peru have gone so well, or you’d begin to lose hope.
What can you do?
Write to your councillors about the lack of scrutiny.
Come to the People’s Environmental Scrutiny Team meeting on Monday 15th December 7pm Friends Meeting House. If you can’t/don’t do meetings, there are other ways of being involved – see website for more details.
What have we learnt?
- Even though it is a nauseating circus, the full Council has to be paid attention to. MCFly was behind the ball on this story. Does someone want to volunteer for “Keeping Tabs on Full Council” duty? It’s a few times a year, just going through the motions
- Things are usually worse than you think, but not automatically in the precise way you think.
Below is the full text (in italics) of a very promptly sent reply to questions from the chair of the Steering Group, Gavin Elliott about the Council motion (which is copied and pasted below that).
“as you are presumably aware, on Wednesday at full council a motion went through where the Council admitted that it wasn’t going to keep the “41% by 2020″ target for itself. It is silent on whether this still holds for the wider plan, stakeholders.”
To contextualise this, it is worth noting that the wording relates to a motion regarding the proposition to set up a Manchester ESCO. However, in setting the background case for the proposition, the paper states “That this Council was informed on October 15th 2014 of a reversal of its progress towards its 2020 41% reduction in CO2 emissions target. The forecast reduction has now been scaled back to 27% “. This refers to the ‘State of the City’ presentation by the CEX to Full Council which showed the citywide CO2 performance to date, and that the trajectory shows we are on track for a 27% reduction by 2020.
The use of the term ‘forecast’ is slightly ambiguous but I can confirm that this is not the target being re-set (lowered), but rather a predictive forward extrapolation based on the progress to date – which in the context of the discussion, was actually being used to impress upon the members the urgency to act.
I’m told that in the webcast of the meeting you can see/hear that Cllr Shilton Godwin who presented the Motion was clearly talking about citywide CO2 emissions. (http://www.manchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/home) although I wasn’t personally in attendance, as you know.
The 27% figure is actually taken from the MACF Annual Report 2014, based on the data we had at the time. Since then MACF has produced a revised trajectory based on more recent Government data, showing a 22.6% reduction trajectory by 2020. (http://macf.ontheplatform.org.uk/article/carbon-challenge-manchester-business)
The Motion was formally agreed, which means that the CEX has been formally tasked with setting up a Council task-and-finish group to investigate the establishment of a Manchester Energy Services Company, including whether this should be at a Manchester, GM, or other level.
I’d like to know – for publication
a) was the Steering Group consulted about this beforehand? No, there was no need to. This was simply a re-statement of existing previously published data
b) if so, did it agree/disagree to the change. If it agreed, why?. In the light of the contextual piece above, this isn’t relevant
c) if it disagreed – what arguments did it give and how does it feel about its opinion being ignored? Ditto
d) does the SG have a position on whether the rest of Manchester should be going now for 27% or keeping to 41% Ditto
di) If 27%, what does that mean for a 2 degree global target Ditto
dii) If 41%, why should other “stakeholders” be aiming for more than its own Council is willing to do? Ditto
Council notes: –
1. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published on 3rd November 20 14, which issued a stark warning that the pace of change in reducing carbon emissions must stepped up sharply, if the world is to avoid severe, widespread and irreversible impact
2. That this Council was informed on October 15th 2014 of a reversal of its progress towards its 2020 41% reduction in CO2 emissions target. The forecast reduction has now been scaled back to 27%
[See email from Gavin Elliott above – it’s actually even worse]
3. 32,000 households in this city are living in fuel poverty – a 7,000 increase on last year
4. The progress of other major European cities, including the British cities of Nottingham and Bristol towards the establishment of energy companies which will invest in more carbon- efficient local energy generation, in improving the energy efficiency of homes and public buildings, and offer lower cost energy to their residents;
5. The terms of the Devolution deal for Greater Manchester also announced on 3rd November include powers to invest in infrastructure through the“earnback” deal, renewed commitment to the 2020 48% carbon reduction targets, and new planning powers.
The time has come for Manchester to step up the pace and develop a distinctive energy policy, which includes the establishment of our own energy company, so that we can support our residents to live in warm homes, and give us the CO2 reductions that we need, in the timescales which the planet needs. A bold, ambitious energy plan has the capability not just to produce cost-effective energy for hard-pressed residents and reduce CO2 emissions but also to earn much needed income for the city.
This Council calls on the Chief Executive
1. To establish a task and finish group with a brief to:
a Scope the most appropriate business model for a Manchester Energy Services Company ( ESCO)
b Consider the appropriate level of governance for a Manchester ESCO(City, GMCA or core cities)
c Identify the key major partners for such a venture, both for infrastructure development and investment
d Identify and address the barriers to rapid implementation of such a venture
e Make recommendations to the Executive for the most advantageous way forward for this City for the long term for the benefit of Manchester residents Information about the Council
(1) Those were the 15th annual United Nations talks since the climate convention was came into force in 1994. They ended in farce. Meanwhile, the 20th talks, being held in Lima, Peru, are also ending in disarray. The basic problem, unchanged since about 1997, is that the rich nations are demanding the poor nations make carbon reduction targets (which is contrary to agreements that those rich countries signed up to in both 1992 and 1995), AND they’re also not paying up nearly enough money to pay for poor nations to adapt to the coming impacts.
Hi Marc, you forgot to mention Woking Town Council, where one council employee pushed through the council’s energy strategy in the 1990s. http://www.thamesweyenergy.co.uk/pages/about_us.php?id=12, which illustrates how true leadership can get things done. I have just come across a piece on ‘Cities and companies have been pledging action on climate change at the Lima UNFCCC conference, COP20’. There is no surprise to learn that no UK City has made any pledges at this conference, especially not Manchester. Has Leese learnt not to make boast globally, that he cannot back up? http://climateaction.unfccc.int/cities.aspx