For the umpteenth time, Manchester City Council is making excuses for its poor-to-the-point-of-criminal performance on climate change. MCFly reporter Ann Onymous reports. (As for involving everyone in the creation of a low carbon culture. They won’t even define what they mean, let alone do anything).
Manchester City Council have this week released their delayed report on their carbon emissions. The headline figures are that between 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 carbon emission have increased by 4.8%, and have decreased by only 13% since 2009. This means that the council is not only behind in reducing its carbon emissions if it is to achieve the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 41% by 2020, but it is also currently behind where it needed to be a whole year ago.
The report claims that “this is largely due to Government changes to emissions factors which are used to convert the Council’s energy use.” There are many things, however, that the council could be doing to reduce its CO2 emissions, such as delivering the conversion of street lights to LEDs which it had planned to do and hasn’t yet.
The report notes that the scale of the challenge is that the energy emissions from buildings will now have to reduce by 26% over the next 5 years (or just under 6% reduction per year). The report also notes that the council is working with the contracted operators of Manchester leisure sites (2 of which rank in the top 3 largest CO2 emitting Manchester City Council buildings) to reduce CO2 emissions by only 3% each year, which is approximately only a 14% reduction by 2019/2020 from these buildings.
One welcome development mentioned in the report is that the council is now producing quarterly reports on most of its CO2 emissions, and releasing them quarterly. The report for the first quarter of this year notes that of the 26% reduction in CO2 from buildings that is required, the council has so far made a 0.1% reduction compared with the same quarter of 2014/2015 (although this figure is subject to change).
Overall, at the current rate of progress it looks unlikely that the Council will reach its target of a 41% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. The only way it looks feasible that the Council could achieve this is by circumstances that are beyond its control and not related to how much energy it is consuming; namely if the Government’s emissions factors are reduced or (ironically) if 2020 is a particularly warm year in which less heat is needed in the Council buildings over winter.
Meanwhile, the council will be discussing on Wednesday if it should install 1,400 solar panels in council houses in North Manchester by Christmas, and to increase the budget by £5.5 million to pay for this. This is twice the number of renewable installations that were registered for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) across Manchester in the two years of 2013 and 2014. This would be a fantastic project, which would reduce Manchester CO2 emissions, help alleviate fuel poverty for some of Manchester’s poorest people, provide employment for people and provide profit to the council. The reason why the council wants to conduct this relatively large project in a short space of time is the government’s announcement that it will severely reduce FiT for solar panels build after this year. It’s disappointing that this terrible national policy was required to spur the local council into action and to reap the rewards. Furthermore, after the FiT has been reduced the council will presumably not see projects like this to be economically viable, so will less keen to undertake them despite all the benefits.