The Executive of Manchester City Council WILL receive a ‘zero carbon by when?’ report this year.
Speaking today at the City Council’s Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee (1), Councillor Annette Wright (2) stated
“I’ve confirmed with the Leader [Richard Leese] that the report on bringing the date to become carbon neutral forward to 2030 is definitely going to go to the Executive before the end of the year.“
The next Executive (3) meeting is on Wednesday 11th December, at 10am. Held at the Town Hall Extension, it is open to the public (We are assuming here that ‘Executive means a public meeting, not an email round-robin between elected and unelected ‘Executive’ types. Call us Pollyanna.)
A report had been promised as part of the July 10th 2019 Climate Emergency Declaration. The original text of the motion proposed to commit the City Council to
Continue working with partners across Manchester and GMCA to deliver the 2038 target, and determine if an earlier target can be possible, through a transparent and open review.
A Liberal Democrat (4) amendment
Explore the possibility of introducing a 2030 target in line with the IPCC report and request that a report on its viability be brought back to the Executive before the end of the year.
was accepted. And the whole motion approved with applause and general backslapping.
However, there had been a distinct lack of specific action since then (see the report of Climate Emergency Manchester (5) ‘The Dead Tortoise Society;). At the Climate Group Subgroup meeting on 22nd October, a Liberal Democrat Councillor, Richard Kilpatrick, tried to get a straight answer out of the Executive Member for the Environment, with, to put it charitably, very limited success (see footage and transcript here).
While a report going to Executive is good news, there are many unresolved questions.
- Is this the council’s idea of a “transparent and open review”? Srsly?
- Will individual councillors get to voice their opinions (for example, at Full Council, which is next happening on Wednesday 27 November at 10am.
- When did the Council – or its wholly owned subsidiary, the so-called “Manchester Climate Change ‘Agency’” (6) (approach the Tyndall Centre to do work on this? Did they wait three hours after the declaration was passed? Three days? Three weeks? (What was their sense of urgency)
- What, specifically did they ask Tyndall Centre to do? What time frame was given?
- Did the Council demur if Tyndall asked for some, well, money? If so, why did the Council not cough up. Either this is an emergency or it isn’t?
- This is one of six scrutiny committees which are obliged to keep tabs on what the City Council’s elected and unelected leadership are doing. The other committees are Health, Economy, Resources and Governance,
- Councillor Annette Wright is a Labour Party councillor, for Hulme ward. She proposed the Climate Emergency motion in June this year. It was unanimously approved on July 10th. Councillor Wright also chairs the Climate Change Subgroup, which met for the first time on 22nd October, and is planning to increase the frequency of its meetings.
- The Executive of Manchester City Council is made up of ten councillors from the Labour Party. The leader – since 1996 – is Richard Leese.
- Manchester City Council has 96 councillors (three for each of 32 wards). At present, 93 are Labour. Didsbury West has three Liberal Democrat councillors.
- Climate Emergency Manchester currently has a core group of five people – Marc Hudson (also editor of Manchester Climate Monthly), Calum McFarlane, Chloe Jeffries, Marion Smith and Ben Gardener. Its latest two reports are
The Dead Tortoise Society, released on the 3 month anniversary of the City Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration, and was based on Freedom of Information Act requests. It showed that the Council has moved very slowly (at the speed of a Dead Tortoise, in fact) to enact the 23 elements of the motion.With Love and Rockets was released on Monday 21st October. It is full of practical, cheap ideas for building momentum for climate action in the city. So far the Council leadership has refused to acknowledge its existence.
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- This entity, its future under review, is actually a community-interest company immune to Freedom of Information Act requests.