MCFly 015: City Council’s "Call to Action"

On Wednesday 14 January Manchester City Council will discuss its next steps in dealing with Climate Change. A report entitled “A Call to Action” is expected to be approved by the Executive (the 10 member group that is in effect the ‘Cabinet’). The report was prepared by the environmental consultancy “Beyond Green”. Council officers would not disclose how much Beyond Green has been paid to produce the document.
The report, the Executive Summary of which can be seen here aims to “set out a new way of thinking” by focussing on “the advantages Manchester could realise through early, decisive action to tackle and adapt to climate change and shift to a low carbon economy.” It proposes “a programme of immediate action to demonstrate across different facets of city life” on “how we can cut our carbon footprint and at the same time sustain and increase prosperity and quality of life for Manchester residents.

Background: In February 2008, Manchester City Council approved its “Climate Change Principles” With a headline of “a million tonnes a year less carbon dioxide by 2020”, it laid out 17 principles under which it would act and three areas in which savings would be made. The Principles Document also promised a Climate Strategy would be released in 2008, and there would be six months of consultation on it.
This, as even casual observers will be aware, simply did not happen. No announcement was made, but following questioning, the Council did admit this, as reported in MCFly 3. July 21 2008. Since that document’s release, AGMA has released the Mini-Stern (MCFly 2 and 3). Central Government has passed the Climate Change Act and created the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Internationally, climate negotiations towards a “new Kyoto” have moved at the pace of a particularly arthritic snail.

Analysis: Until the complete report is released, we must “wait and see.” Making snap judgements on the basis of an Executive Summary would be foolish. But, rushing in where angels fear to tread, MCFly notes that; the Principles Document was heavy on numbers and targets while the Call to Action is light, there is no mention of cycling, or food production. Crucially, the Principles Document promised 6 months of consultation, whereas this envisages “awareness raising and engagement,” a very different beast….
Ultimately, the Council will be judged not on its words, but its actions, in driving down Manchester’s carbon emissions and preparing sensibly for the dramatic changes that will unfold over the coming decades.

Timetable of Council plans
Jan 2009: Call to Action published
Jan-Mar 2009: Detailed action planning
Spring-Summer 2009:

  • Community awareness raising and engagement through the “Proud Of” campaign.
  • Engagement through implementation of the proposed ‘catalytic’ actions

Late 2009: Final Manchester climate change action plan published

More information: MCFly will blog about this on Wednesday 14th, after the Executive Meeting. We will link through to the main report, and get opinions and analysis from groups and individuals.
Cllr Richard Cowell will be speaking at the “Climate Change: Global and Local” event on Tuesday 10 February at the Friends Meeting House .

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About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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