Councillor Angeliki Stogia, the Executive Member for the Environment of Manchester City Council, has stated baldly that cancelling the quarterly climate reports was the right decision. It sends, she says, the right message about how seriously Manchester City Council takes climate change. No, you read that right. It’s not a typo, or a misrepresentation. And we’ve got the tweet (screengrabbed below) to prove it.
The quarterly climate reports were started in 2014, after pressure and lobbying from a small group of environmentalists. They were a supplement to the existing annual reports, which often received limited scrutiny and did not enable councillors to see if things were ‘on track’ or not throughout the year. In May this year, Cllr Stogia cancelled the reports, which were being presented to the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee.
Curiously, there are two competing explanations for the cancellation. Councillor Stogia announced repeatedly that they were cancelled because not all data could be collected in a timely manner.
Manchester Climate Monthly had previously submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to see all the correspondence relating to this. The evidence we were sent had nothing to do with inaccurate/incomplete data, but rather a conversation about how many times the quarterly reports were being downloaded.
The reply, received on 8th November, read in part
The decision to stop producing the quarterly Climate Change Action Plan
reports was made on 30 th May 2018. Preceding this, the Executive Member
for the Environment was provided with information regarding the number of
‘hits’ the quarterly reports on the Manchester City Council website had
received. Email correspondence between David Houliston and the Executive
Member is enclosed.
b. Secondly, please provide any evidence that alternatives to abolishing
quarterly plans was considered: e.g. quarterly plans without all the data
or six monthly reports.
None applicable. An annual carbon emission report is already produced and
published on the council website.
Last Thursday we emailed Councillor Stogia the following three questions.
Dear Councillor Stogia,I have just received the result of a Freedom of Information Act request about your decision to abolish quarterly climate action plans to the NESC.I am writing to you for a statement (for publication) about this decision.1. In light of the recent IPCC report about the need to take radical action to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, do you think that abolishing the quarterly reports was a good decision?
2. Does it sent the right message about how seriously the council takes the issue?3. Were alternatives to abolishing quarterly plans was considered: e.g. quarterly plans without all the data or six monthly reports. The FOIA suggests not. Is that accurate?
Many thanks in anticipation of your reply