It will work. What Manchester City Council is planning to do about its climate problem in the coming months will work.
If you’re surprised at that statement, well, keep reading.
It will NOT work to surface the failures around the creation of a low carbon culture (promised in 2009 for the year 2020.)
It will NOT work to get us anywhere near the carbon budget that was set with great fanfare in late 2018, and are missing.
It will NOT work to put some (any) oomph into all those actions the Council was supposed to be doing around the unanimous “Climate Emergency Declaration” of July 2019. (see Climate Emergency Manchester’s various ‘Hung Drawn and Quarterly reports)/
It will NOT be work to create a broad, diverse, radical movement of citizens willing and able to work with and beyond the council to force it and other organisations to work for the greater good, for future generations.
All these are things are needed, but none of them is on the agenda of the organisers. It’s not their skill set, it’s not their interest, or in their interests as they perceive them.
But this series of events will work…
It will work to distract newly-concerned citizens from past awkward failures, budget blow outs, broken promises, and stop them from understanding what is actually going on, or making real connections with anyone.
It will work to soak up the time, energy and hope of individuals and groups in the dangerous lead up to Glasgow, where people might be curious and asking “so, have we got this under any kind of control?”
It will work to produce yet another glossy document full of vague motherhood-and-apple-pie promises, illustrated with childish cartoons, disingenuous pie-charts and carefully curated photos that give the image of ethnically diverse action.
The Potemkin Village of climate action, something this Council excels at.
Some of the people behind this latest farce know the history. They are choosing to ignore it, to refuse to learn from it. They are determined to keep us in an endless loop of promising, promising.
And others, sniffing proximity to “power” or sham relevance, will go along with it, because they lack self-respect, because they are so desperate to suck on the hopium pipe again.
These events will serve as the perfect excuse not to hold an actual stakeholder conference (see below) or even look at the failure (again) to meet the carbon budget targets.
“We’re focussed on the future.” “Glasgow is so important.” “Must come together.” “Need to avoid negativity.”
Organisations like Tyndall are still lending their (fading) credibility to shams like this. What will they do when Manchester follows Liverpool and starts sniffing around Negative Emissions Technologies to make the numbers add up? Will they have the spine to pull the plug on the mutually beneficial relationship, which is ostensibly about “effectiveness.” On that, see this –
Oh, and this is NOT the first community event. Even setting aside all the now-forgotten work around the Manchester Environment Forum (1991-1994), the Manchester Global Forum and the Local Agenda 21 process (1994-1997) there was, in November 2010 the first Manchester Stakeholder Conference.
That would be 12 years ago (see Manchester Mule).
This was supposed to hold an annual day-long conference so that new connections could be made, progress (or lack of it) assessed. There were supposed to be annual elections to the Stakeholder Steering Group.
The group was so fucking inept, so laughably “led” that it couldn’t even stage a conference in 2011, the crucial year to maintain some momentum. Half-witted half-day “conferences” – laughably poorly designed and executed – were staged in 2012 and 2013. The farce was unilaterally killed off in 2014. The “Stakeholder Steering Group” was then killed off and replaced by the enormously expensive and useless Climate Change “Agency” (not actually an agency) in 2015.
We are just so fucked.
We are just so incapable of creating a broad-based resistance to the spin, the lies, the direct contradictions to the very conditions of our future selves’ survival. We will be cursed bitterly by the young of today and tomorrow, when they figure out that this was not a problem of information, or access. It isn’t. It’s a problem of courage (intellectual, emotional, political) and intelligence to act on what is patently obvious. These horrors – the pending ecological debacle, and our willingness to collude in doing nothing about it – are the two principal reasons I had a vasectomy in 2004.
There are things we could do. We won’t do them.
We are just so fucked.