New research by the International Energy Agency shows that fossil fuel emissions climbed steadily over the second half of the year as major economies began to recover.
By December 2020, carbon emissions were 2% higher than in the same month the year before. There will be enormous and understandable pent-up demand for international travel, and for a return to “normality”. But the old normal was – and will – lead us to disaster.
What is needed is a fundamental cultural, political and economic shift. These things do not happen overnight, and we should have started decades ago. Instead we allowed our leaders to make soothing promises, and then failed to keep tabs on whether the promises were being kept (they were not).
Manchester City Council has a chance to break this cycle. Ahead of its full Council meeting on Wednesday 31st March, it can propose and then vote for strong scrutiny mechanisms, so that the emissions of the whole city come under the microscope. In the last two years, Manchester burned through a quarter of its carbon budget for the entire twenty first century. Covid will not save us from the horrible maths. Only strong, committed leadership, and a relentless focus on keeping promises offers young people any hope for a decent adulthood.
We can write to our councillors to demand this leadership. We can keep tabs on whether they match fine words with actual deeds.