On Wednesday 24th, three council officers from Toronto delivered a presentation about how their city has been tackling climate change to a large but homogenous group of Mancunians. Held at the Civil Justice Centre, the presentation covered Toronto’s long history of involvement in climate change, its current plans and future hopes. Of special note was its community engagement programme www.livegreentoronto.ca, its target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 from a 1990 baseline [Manchester is using an easier 2005 baseline] and the fact that it gets a ‘scorecard’ from environmental groups every year.
The presentation was followed by a lengthy Q and A session. Disappointingly, even when explicitly invited to reflect on the challenges and obstacles faced, the presenter chose to ignore the question, perhaps thinking that this would detract from the everything-is-sweetness-and-light image given thus far.
There was an interesting mix of council bods (including head of Capital Projects, John Lorimer) there, but the gender ratio was appalling (at least 3:1), most everyone was 40 plus and in a suit. The other political parties were conspicuous in their absence. This may be a result of how the event was advertised and who received invites- it appears that not even everyone involved in the writing of the “Manchester Climate Change Action Plan” received an invite, let alone those beyond the pale.
All in all a good event. Nice to see the Royal Bank of Scotland (owned in effect by you and me) entering into the spirit by having all its lights blazing in its empty building as we left.