Manchester and Greater Manchester bureaucrats and poltiicians have been making shiny promises about climate change for more than ten years. After a couple of years, when it becomes clear that the old promises haven’t been kept they
a) blame someone else (usually the Tories, with some justification) and
b) make some new shiny promises.
Activists either don’t know this because they are new, or do know it but don’t talk about it because a) they’ve been colluding in the old promises or b) it’s too terrifying to realise that there are no adults, just a bunch of men (and a sprinkling of women) in suits spouting gibberish with nice powerpoints.
And so we come to the latest iteration, the latest shiny bullshit. As the stark realities of what faces us become too big to ignore, the incentive from the politicians and bureaucrats to double-down is irresistible. And people will want to believe that matters are in hand.
Recently Steady State Manchester hosted an excellent analysis of the latest Five Year Plan” . You can read it here. The tl:dr is this –
Looking back at my earlier comments on the GM Springboard Report in August 2018, I find that most of the criticisms made there apply equally to this plan, namely:
1) There is insufficient information about the main sources of GHG emissions in GM;
2) There is no substantive information about what has been achieved in GM so far in reducing GHG emissions (reference to earlier strategies or plans is lacking);
3) Key responsibilities for taking the various actions proposed are not assigned;
4) The plan does not recognise the crucial role of putting an end to the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, irrespective of whether this occurs in GM or not;
5) Priorities for action seem to be identified on an ad hoc basis rather than on a strategic basis such as in terms of how much a proposed action is likely to contribute to reducing GHG emissions.
Peter Somerville, 12.3.19
Okay, so now Steady State and other groups have announced a grandly named “Climate Action Network”. No website (but to be fair, it’s only been three months, and it’s not like websites are easy, or the issue matters at all, is it?). No jpg or pdf of the leaflet. No hashtags for their call out for action. No meeting scheduled for the week after the summit. What could possibly go wrong? Thank god the activists are “on it”, and innovating where business and government is not, or else I’d begin to worry…
Do More, Faster!
Our Response to the GMCA 5 Year Environment Plan
We’re facing a climate emergency.
The science tells us how much carbon we can afford to emit to keep the climate safe. We need to live within this carbon budget.
But the GMCA 5 Year Plan fails to deliver, using up the budget twice over.
We have to do more, faster. We therefore call on Andy Burnham and the 10 council leaders to:
In the next 3 months:
- Declare a Climate Emergency and appoint a Climate Emergency Commissioner with the responsibility and resources to deliver rapid carbon reductions.
- Accelerate the actions in the 5-year plan to deliver in line with the Tyndall carbon budget, and act now to deliver a 15% reduction this year.
- Instruct the GM Pension Fund to sell all holdings in companies involved in the exploration, extraction, refining and distribution of fossil fuels within 2 years, starting with the most polluting (coal, tar sands and fracking).
- Call on the Government to:
- Make carbon reduction a statutory duty for local authorities and provide the powers and funding to deliver rapid action.
- Accelerate grid decarbonisation by rapidly scaling up the deployment of renewable power.
- Introduce an immediate ban on coal and unconventional oil and gas extraction (including fracking and coal bed methane), and end all direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuel extraction
- Reintroduce a zero carbon new build standard, and make retrofit of existing buildings an infrastructure investment priority.
- Bring forward the date for phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2030, and introduce a scrappage scheme for the most polluting vehicles.
- Scrap HS2 and the national road-building programme, and invest instead in walking, cycling, buses, trams and local rail services.
- Announce an immediate moratorium on airport expansion, update aviation policy in line with the Tyndall Centre carbon budget, and introduce a Frequent Flyer Levy.
In the next 6 months:
- In each local authority area:
- Run a series of Carbon Literacy workshops to inform and inspire people to act on climate change, starting with all councillors and council staff
- Collaborate with the public sector, businesses and community members (making particular effort to involve women and BAME communities) to develop local action plans
- Set up the GM Environment Fund and provide initial funding to give communities the financial support they need to deliver their local action plan.
- Accelerate delivery of high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure across the region.
In the next 12 months:
- Re-regulate our buses to deliver a cleaner, simpler, more frequent and affordable bus network.
- Implement a low-carbon Clean Air Zone as soon as possible, which covers all types of polluting vehicles including private cars.
- Set a cap on flight emissions at Manchester Airport, supported by the introduction of a Climate Emergency Levy for departing passengers to contribute to the GM Environment Fund
- Set up a Climate Emergency Capital Fund, funded by investments from the public, businesses and the GM Pension Fund, to finance a GM-wide programme of retrofit, renewables and energy efficiency measures.
- Work with employers and education partners to deliver a Climate Emergency Skills Programme to enable the rapid roll-out of retrofit, renewables and energy efficiency measures.
This response has been drawn up by the Greater Manchester Climate Action Network (GM-CAN), a coalition of local climate activist groups.
Let us know your views by tweeting us @GMCAN3 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or your organisation would like to endorse our response, visit: bit.ly/gmcan-endorse
Fine, great. And if I were Burnham, or Leese, or Stogia, or Atherton reading that I’d say “Or else you’re gonna do what?”