Advance notice of event:  Green New Deals and Greater Manchester.

Advance Notice:  Green New Deals and Greater Manchester.
Monday 16 December: 6.30-8.30.

Whatever the result of the General Election, climate change and the actions needed to mitigate it will be major issues.  Both the Labour and Green parties, along with many civil society organisations and commentators are promoting the idea of a Green New Deal.  In this session we will look at what this could mean for Greater Manchester.  Maybe we will have a more supportive national government, maybe we won’t, but either way we need to look at what we want locally and how we can get it.  We have been constructively critical of some aspects of the Green New Deal approach, both from an ecological and an economic perspective, but we also recognise that a bold policy initiative of this sort will be absolutely crucial to staving off the worst of the climate and economic crisis.  The challenge is to make them happen and happen in a way that does not make matters worse.

The event will start with some short provocations and this will be followed by structured discussion to make the event as participative as possible.  So far we can confirm speakers from GM Labour for a Green New Deal and Steady State Manchester.  We also anticipate a Green Party speaker (to be confirmed).

Venue and booking arrangements to be announced soon.


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Net Zero Government? A submission to the Environment Audit Committee Inquiry

Submission to Parliament Environment Audit Committee by Richard Shirres

EAC INQUIRY INTO NET ZERO GOVERNMENT

SUMMARY: This paper stresses why there is an urgency for Government Action; argues why the Government’s (June 2019) target is unambitious; the importance of Natural Resource Catchment Management, and, most emphatically, that Government needs to resource and facilitate formal nationwide public engagement amongst local communities in order to have the mandate for the extensive logistical and societal actions much needed to confront the climate emergency declared by Parliament in May, 2019.

Read the submission: HERE

Graph from the submission

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How Green is My City? A Response to Manchester City Council leader’s blog post.

Response to Manchester City Council leader’s blog post: How Green is My City

Mark Burton

(Submitted as a comment on Manchester City Council website and annotated here with links.  Comments appear to be disabled on the Leader’s blog, although the comment form is still there. Until fixed that is a source of frustration to citizens who want to enter into dialogue.)

photo of rally

Massive climate strike demonstration at the Great Ancoats former retail park that Manchester Council plans to make into a car park.

Manchester City Council declared a climate emergency earlier this year. I understand that there had been some resistance to this initially but in the end the back-bench motion, one of the most comprehensive, clear and action-focussed of its kind, was passed unanimously with Executive support. Although some steps have been taken to implement the motion, the appearance from outside the council is that this is going slowly and not very transparently, although the institution of an Overview and Scrutiny Climate Change Subgroup could help. It would be good to know just what the new (senior management level) Zero Carbon Coordination Group is proposing to do: so, for instance, regular public announcements and clarity re targets would be very welcome.

The leader [in his recent blog post] is obviously correct to say that the council is directly responsible for only a small part of emissions but it is disappointing to see a continuation of road widening schemes and the plan to create a car part on Great Ancoats Street [update: greed by a majority of councillors at the planning committee on Wednesday 16 Oct], a street that is to be renewed with no cycle provision.

Critically the council could do more as a shaper and influencer by adopting a total carbon approach: the recent C40 cities report on city consumption emissions gives a lot of clues for opportunities for reducing emissions radically. That means reducing the emissions that take place elsewhere but as a consequence of producing and distributing the things we use in the city.

Finally I must respond to the punch line about stationary cars not making emissions. Obviously this is true at trivial level but it ignores a) the embodied emissions in vehicle manufacture, b) the emissions caused when they are travelling to places such as … Great Ancoats Street, along roads such as Hyde Road and Princess Road, c) the continuing demand for private motor vehicles that is facilitated by provision of excessive levels of parking in the inner area. We could learn so much from other cities that restrict cars in the inner city via congestion charging and restriction of car-parking. It will take some time to reduce car use and yes parking will be needed still for those residual and necessary car journeys. However, that does not excuse plans to actually create parking spaces when as we all agree we are already in a climate (and air pollution) emergency.

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From Puddings to Pea Wet and Oatcakes to Lobby: Ctrl SHIFT and social change

 

Several members of the Steady State Manchester Collective attended the Ctrl SHIFT summit in Stoke back in May.  We didn’t get around to writing anything about the event which brought together a wide variety of campaigners and social innovators at Pot Bank , the former Spode pottery works.  However Nickala Torkington from Flourish Together CIC has written the following piece.  The title might puzzle you: Pea Wet is a traditional food served in chippys in Wigan (where the first Ctrl SHIFT took place) and Staffordshire Oatcakes are yeasted oatmeal pancakes, traditional fast food served to pottery and other workers in the Stoke on Trent area and beyond.  These are towns with their own particular challenges, but as local speakers made clear, they are much maligned and CTRLSHift logogreatly misunderstood with many local “endogenous” developments responding the real challenges of post-industrial and austerity-hit settlements.  Here, then, is Nickala’s piece.

From Puddings to Pea Wet and Oatcakes to Lobby – what can we learn from Ctrl SHIFT and the ingredients for consistent social change?……

A short summary of this year’s CTRL Shift Conference which took place in Stoke, including a focus on the Women as a Force for Social Change ‘Solutions Session’ and reflections on future links and considerations for Greater Manchester.

For the second year in a row, the CTRL Shift team brought together their unconference style 3 day event, where grass roots activism, meets public and private sector decision makers. The location moved from Wigan in 2018 to Stoke and built on core themes including: tackling the climate emergency, permaculture, building resilient, innovative and connected communities and sharing models from across the country of people who act – not just for one or two days, but constantly to seek to create a fairer, greener, inclusive and sustainable future which we all have a stake in and a part to play.

The team behind CTRL Shift believe ‘A better future already exists’, they seek to bring together individuals, organisations and networks across the UK who are already creating a future that’s more inclusive, collaborative, and aims to benefit everyone. The aim is to shift political, economic and cultural power away from the status quo and involve diverse communities in intelligent systems change that works.

Throughout the conference there were a mix of discussions, critical thinking and mapping sessions alongside ‘Solutions sessions’ highlighting good practice already happening which can catalyse solutions for change. Space and time was created to have wider thematic and co-working sessions where deeper collaboration and strategy development starts to turn into action through people finding their voice, common ground and creating increased co-ordination and connection to act.

Solutions sessions and themed conversations at Ctrl Shift 2019 combined an eclectic mix seeking to address a range of social and environmental challenges: Wellbeing, Citizen Action Networks, Citizen-led Economic Transition, Mutual Credit, Local Food, Students as change agents, Regional Networks, Women as a force for Social Change, Climate Conversations, Creativity, Participatory Budgeting, People Powered Money, Regenerative Business, Systems Thinking for Connected Action, Shared Governance, Transformative Economies or Community-led Housing. Something for everyone you might say – or a lot of issues to try and do something about!

As co-founder and director of Flourish Together CIC, which is based in Greater Manchester, but operating across the North, we’re a pay it forward consultancy which invest its surplus resources and profits in supporting more women to create the change they see needed in communities and society at large. I convened the

‘Women as a Force for Social Change’ session where we leveraged our time, networks, experience and brainpower to hold 4 conversations in our 50 minute slot.

The need for our session was clear, with evidence ranging from Caroline Criado Perez’s new book ‘Invisible Women’ highlighting the extent to which women’s voices, experience and intelligence is missing from so many elements of decision making from our research and technology industry, to local politics and business growth and development. Plus the fact that for every £1 of private investment only 1 pence (yes that’s right 1p) goes to women led businesses and organisations. This rises to 11p if you look at companies with a mixed board resulting in 89p per pound going to the remainder – the men, to lead and spend resources as they see fit. All of the women involved in leading the session would identify as social innovators and entrepreneurs and could bring strength from the knowledge that the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector is already creating a shift with over 40% of social ventures led by women. Plus the organisers of Ctrl SHIFT snapped our hand off when we said we’d run it.

A summary of our 4 action orientated discussions to build connections are below along with links on how to follow up for more information:

NICKALA TORKINGTON (www.flourishtogether.org.uk) mapped and discussed over 50 examples of women as a force for social change as well as networks/ activities supporting progress – we looked at everything from who is excelling, what sectors are they operating in, current energy and strength

PATSY CORCRAN (www.asist.org.uk) & MONICA CRU HALL (www.countercoin.network) discussed enabling inclusion and the role of advocacy for women influencing and leading change. They shared good practice examples and major gaps in enabling women to have a voice and be represented. Giving concise examples of how to support more women with disabilities and learning difficulties and also more women from from Black, Asian, Minority and wider Ethnic groups including Refugees to feel compelled to speak, be heard, get involved, take action and bring real and authentic diversity to influencing and decision making. Sharing learning from lived experience and the work of Asist.

INDRA ADNAM (www.thealternative.org.uk) looked at ‘What is the new politics for the future to enable women to act as a force for social change?’ Discussing how to create a new landscape, structures, language to enable politics and democracy to be fit for purpose and relevant for the future.

ALEX PHILLIPS (www.unltd.org.uk) held a conversation looking at the characteristics and behaviours of women innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders reflecting whether there are ways in which women bring something different when fostering, innovating, designing and implementing change? Especially given 40% of social enterprises are led by women and only 1-11p per pound of Venture Capitalist funds are invested in women how do we support more social ventures to be taken seriously and scale?

Our group and the diverse people who joined the discussions found this a great space to learn, debate, map what is happening and to help give a platform to new voices

as well as improve how we start to co-ordinate ourselves for impact– two of the key goals of Ctrl SHIFT.

In many ways the Ctrl SHIFT model isn’t that unlike any other conference, however the format and style, the mix of people, the venue they choose (towns with industrial hearts finding ways to keep beating and innovate social and environmental change) and the legacy they try to build in the places are they run – considering the conference themes through towns in need of regeneration and testing actions in these localities, has the potential to make these conferences and the network stand out and be a gamechanger in shifting control….. The proof of the pudding though, is always in the eating and making sure there is genuine, consistent and connected action. With 10-20 such towns across Greater Manchester and a track record of having run one in Wigan, there is certainly momentum to build on. We have many of the right ingredients, solutions working now in pockets and smart people across all walks of life across our communities taking action day in day out – whether we can agree on what pudding or cake stall to create in Greater Manchester in another matter, however the tools, networks and principles of Ctrl SHIFT make us natural allies of this work well into the future and discussions following the conference are warming up nicely.

For more information on elements of this blog email Nickala or organisations highlighted. For more information about Ctrl SHIFT 2020 see: https://www.ctrlshiftsummit.org.uk/

 

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Six problems for Green Deals

by Mark H Burton

A talk given as part of the panel session on The Economics of Climate Emergency, at Manchester Metropolitan University’s launch event for the Future Economies Research Centre.  Also available here at resilience.org:

Spanish translation here /Traducción a castellano-enlace

If nothing else, the last few months have heightened awareness of the desperately parlous predicament that now faces humanity, with an accelerating climate and ecological crisis. So attempts to design assertive policy proposals are very welcome. The Green New Deal is the one that currently is getting the most attention and perhaps traction. So I want to ask some critical questions that generally seem to be ignored in the infectious enthusiasm for the idea. In doing that I’ll also be rehearsing some insights from the degrowth perspective.

Preamble

All this is about the relationships among three spheres, exchange value, use value and (physical) materiality.

Diagram with three sphere, Exchange Value, Use Value and Materiality

  1. Our fundamental problem is a material crisis -of carbon pollution and its impacts on our ecosystem, and of resource extraction that is devastating ecosystems and livelihoods.

  2. Policy proposals are concerned, at root, with ensuring human populations can access use values, derived through human labour acting on the world’s material reality.

  3. But our economic system, which mediates the relationship between use values and matter, is based on exchange values, the monetisation of goods and services.

With this terrain in mind, let’s look at the 6 problems for Green Deals.

1) Material flows and extractivism

In one of the clearest statements on the theory that underpins the GND idea, the original UK GND team explained that:

… government intervention generates employment, income and saving, and associated tax revenues repay the exchequer. This is the multiplier process, attributed to Richard Kahn, Keynes’s closest follower.
Any public spending should be targeted so that domestic companies benefit, and then the wages generated create further spending on consumer goods and services. So combined heat-and-power initiatives generate income for construction and technological companies, and then workers’ salaries are spent on food, clothes, home entertainment, the theatre and so on, creating demand for those industries.” (New Economics Foundation 2008, p. 27)

For more on the Keynesian thinking that underpins Green New Deals see this article.

But here is the problem. Increases in the scale of economic activity (as conventionally measured in terms of GDP) are associated with increases in the throughput of energy and materials, and these increases have involved increased emissions of greenhouse gases, resulting primarily from the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. Green growth, requires that this association between GDP and GHG emissions must cease to exist: this is known as ‘decoupling’. It is doubtful whether any developed country has achieved this at the scale and permanence required (Burton and Somerville 2019, pp. 99–101), especially when international shipping and aviation plus embodied carbon in imports are taken into account (Anderson 2019).

Irrespective of the levels of GHG emissions, the material flows that underpin the current scale of the economy already involve problems with extractive industries (located largely in the global South) and land use change more generally. For these material flows, the overall evidence is that there is no decoupling from GDP growth, with the (international) material footprint increasing by some 6% for each 10% in GDP (Wiedmann et al. 2015).

For each increment in the scale of the economy, there is an increment in the extraction of minerals, the number of mines, the extent of cultivated land, the extraction of water, the number of ships, lorries and planes carrying goods and people, and in the amount of waste that has to be disposed of, whether by recycling or by dumping it in the earth’s land, sea and air, its ecological sinks.

2) The multiplier doesn’t care about the climate.

The multiplier effect, referred to above, creates a problem because it is non specific: other things being equal, there is no control over where the multiplier effects have impact. So the desired, clean, growth of the economy has undesirable implications in terms of additional resource and energy use. Clean begets dirty.
Read more about this problem.

3) The inherent constraints of renewable energy.

Graph showing growth of renewable energy sources versus bigger growth in other energy sources

GNDs emphasise switching to renewable energy. So far, increases in renewable energy deployment have not led to a reduction in fossil fuel usage globally. Overall their deployment has been to add to the global energy mix rather than replacing fossil fuels. Moreover, it is doubtful whether renewables can provide the scale of concentrated energy used by the current global economy: the constraints are less in the power that could theoretically be generated from natural flows than in the minerals needed to deploy them: minerals used in generators and motors, in batteries and in electronics, as well as copper for transmission of power (García-Olivares 2015). These are finite and with limited substitutability. The revolution will be low powered, so the Green Deal has to factor in a plan for energy descent.

4) Diminishing return on investment due to resource scarcity

The well validated, and landmark, Limits to Growth study modelled the impacts of resources becoming scarcer and their cost increasing. This undermines the stability of the production system well before the resources are near exhaustion: inexorably reducing returns on investment lead to an economic collapse (Meadows et al. 1974, 2005, Turner 2008, 2014, Homer-Dixon et al. 2015). Any expanding economic system has to grapple with this, even if it successfully exploits essentially free natural energy flows: you can’t create minerals from sunlight. These economic consequences of the increasing scarcity and inaccessibility of most minerals and metals need to be addressed in any credible Green Deal, yet there is almost no discussion of this crucial reality in any of the proposals, nor of the ‘hidden’ resource intensive demands of new technology.

Read more about the Limits to Growth and the EROI problem.

5) The other planetary boundaries.

Even if it were possible to mitigate the climate crisis through the kind of transformation proposed in the various Green Deals, there are other ecological crises to contend with. These can be understood in terms of the Planetary Boundaries framework proposed by Johan Rockström and colleagues (Rockström et al. 2009a, 2009b, Steffen et al. 2015). Climate change is just one of these boundaries. As of 2015, the evidence available to the Planetary Boundaries investigators indicated that

Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity:… …
Two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are what the scientists call ‘core boundaries’. Significantly altering either of these “core boundaries” would “drive the Earth System into a new state”.
Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human wellbeing in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries…”
    Read more about this.

It is unclear whether and how the various Green Deals propose to address these additional threats, whether or not they rely explicitly on green growth.

I should note that the newest, and very comprehensive set of proposals, from the Green New Deal for Europe grouping, does acknowledge and attempt to address all these questions, although not necessarily altogether convincingly (Adler, Wargan, & Prakash, 2019).

But it is in the political economy of the GND where we have a fundamental contradiction that will not be easily resolved.

6) The GND and the capitalist growth imperative.

Paying for the GND has attracted a lot of debate and I don’t propose to go into the intricacies. Broadly, it is suggested that this be done by Government and private sector, raising credit from other sectors of the economy, i.e. individual and corporate investors, including public and private sector pension funds.

The problem is that this all assumes a return on the investment.

For the private sector, this is via interest or dividends, based on the profits from the new activity.

Some advocates suggest that the GND be funded through money created by government especially for this purpose – by electronically printing money.

In all these cases, the advance of money for investment ultimately requires ongoing expansion of capital, the modus operandi of the capitalist system, founded on the expropriation of surplus value in the labour process, which we know as economic growth. Without expansion, there is no, or insufficient, return on the outlay.

Despite the claims of some GND advocates, Green Deals are predicated on the expansion of GDP and as we saw, we can’t rely on that to decouple from material impacts.

read more about this

Mitigating the growth imperative

That is, unless another way can be found. There are some indications that this might be possible.

  1. Resource and energy caps.
  2. Review evidence that credit needn’t imply growth.
  3. Take production out of private ownership.
  4. Redirect unnecessary expenditure.
  5. Substitute material production with social & environmental stewardship / “dépense”.

Firstly, an ecologically feasible Green Deal would entail some way of capping resource and energy use at source, effectively the equitable rationing of commodities (goods and services). Doing this would also incentivise the transition to less ecologically and resource intensive offerings across the market, so long as emitting activities weren’t driven underground.

Secondly, a number of studies show that the creation of credit could, under certain conditions, fund necessary investments without creating an imperative for economic growth (Berg et al. 2015, Jackson and Victor 2015, Lee and Werner 2018).

Thirdly, if the industrial sectors of the new economy were taken out of private capitalist ownership, then the motor of capital self-expansion need not necessarily be required, though this would, I think imply a trajectory towards a steady state, at least for that part of the economy.

Fourthly, some of the expansion could conceivably be funded by the redirection and re-prioritisation of undesirable economic activity – though much of that still requires profitability.

Fifthly, as the latest of the GND papers suggests, aggregate energy demand must be reduced by scaling down material production and throughput. That would entail shifting income and welfare creation from industrial production to social and environmental reproduction: maintenance, recycling, repair, and restoration of environmental and infrastructural resources, as well as education, culture and care for people and environment. But that, idea, close to the dépense favoured by some degrowth theorists (e.g. Kallis, 2015), besides sounding like pie in the sky under capitalism, ignores the massive, neocolonial, outsourcing of industrial production to other economies.

Done in a managed way, that would be a lot better than the unmanaged periodic destruction of value that is a feature of capitalist cycles, but how do we get it to happen?

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September Newsletter from Steady State Manchester

Click here for SSM’s September update newsletter.  It covers,

Fossil Free Pensions?    Local action on climate change

Revising the Viable Economy   Degrowth 2020

Future Economies launch event    Better Buses    Deansgate

You can sign up to get these direct to your inbox HERE.

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Local action on climate: Whalley Range Climate Action Group

A guest post by Avril Danczak

Climate change is a tricky subject. Some people deny it, are ignorant about it or think it is nothing to do with them. On the other hand, many are terrified by what a globally heated world will hold for them, their children and for the future of millions of our fellow humans. The Guardian newspaper suggests we intensify the very language we use with phrases like “climate emergency”, “climate crisis” and “global heating” instead of “climate change” and “global warming”.

However, both denial and terror risk confining us to a similar, paralysed, state of inaction, so that nothing changes. What are the paths out of this immobilisation?

A tiny group of residents in Whalley Range got talking about climate change. While we fully support the national and international actions of Extinction Rebellion/Friends of the Earth/Climate Justice and all the other efforts being made to promote real change, the phrase “Thinking globally and acting locally” also spurred us to think about what we can do right now, right here, in our own locality of Whalley Range.

We started locally and small, using word of mouth to find fellowship, trying to remain humble and open to ideas. The group, Whalley Range Climate Action Group (WRCAG), grew in size steadily and we now have dozens of interested parties. Initially, I thought we would be a kind of retrofit support group, trying to help each other get properly insulated, reduce our energy usage, become car free and work out better ways to have flight free holidays. It has become a lot more than that.

Conversation triggered us to act, and we began by extending those conversations into our community. We listened to each other and to the residents we met at our simple stalls at community events. In no time we had a presence at Celebrate, (an annual local festival), at Ecofest, an event run by a local church, at the Windrush event in a local park

We also joined in an inspiring “Clean Air Day” action, when streets were closed around schools to enable pollution free walking and most joyously of all free street play for the children. The sounds of birdsong, children playing and people chatting rose out of the car free silence. What used to be taken for granted, safe walking and children playing out, has become a privilege. It took us a huge amount of organisation and preparation to bring about and lasted for less than half a day.

This has also reinforced the value of the kinds of conversations we are aiming to have. We do not instruct, but rather, ask “Where are you up to with the climate change thing?” and “What would make Whalley Range a climate safe, buzzing, good place to live?

These discussions are interesting, challenging and produce actionable ideas about what is important here in our own community. Many people in Whalley Range are thinking about climate change, environmental degradation and pollution. They are fed up with the noise, danger and pollution from cars and the life-limiting effects this has. They feel the constraints: unsafe walking especially for children, asthma increased by pollution, litter everywhere. People were outraged by the plastics they feel they cannot escape, wrapped around everything, all the time. We found much common cause with many other local organisations such as the Whalley Rangers and local wildlife support groups. Many organisations whose prime purpose is not about climate change, for example, Age Friendly Manchester or the local Park support and Heritage groups, joined us in thinking that climate change is their business too and that they can act on it here in Whalley Range.

It has been exciting to hear these perspectives, to “take the street” on Clean Air Day, and to discover that residents are willing to discuss these issues. It has made me a little braver to speak about climate change. This week, my lovely neighbour was in the street with two young relatives showing off their new cars. The cars were idling in the street, doors open, he showed me the clever seats. We had met on many occasions, so I felt able to turn the ignition key off and say…idling cars are not good for us. I had the same conversation with the man sweeping the street who left his vehicle idling for 30 minutes while he had his lunch break.

Our next meetings will be opportunities to reflect on what we have heard, what our priorities are and to decide what our main actions should be. We think it is likely that not everyone in the group will want to work on the same things. Some will be interested in schools, educating parents and pupils, others in taking the streets away from cars, others in building consensus against plastics in supermarkets, schools and our shopping bags. Connecting with other organisations that work in our area including the National Health Service has been highlighted as a way to make our work more effective locally.

WRACG does not have a manifesto; our first leaflet explains who we are…local residents working on what we can do about climate change, with a simple list of suggestions to help anyone reduce their impact on the planet. Reducing energy use, going flight free, consuming less, walking, cycling and using public transport, eating a mainly vegetarian diet are all important actions. Having a group of like-minded people around empowers us, to tell others what we are doing and to explore ways we can reduce our carbon emissions.

Another key action is to make our voices heard on this issue, wherever possible, in whichever organisations we are in contact with. Building connections between people will make Whalley Range an “Abundant Community”, where we know and value our neighbours through shared events and conversations. Then we will have a good life that is also a climate friendly life, here and now.

Massive policy change is needed, for sure, and governments must lead on the bigger changes. But if 10% of people get behind the need to reduce emissions drastically, that’s a massive opinion former and a strong message to local and central government, that will be hard to ignore. In the 18th century, rich landowners planted trees that they knew they would never see to maturity, but which are still enjoyed by many of us today. We can take a leaf out of their book and start planning for our descendants instead of just thinking about today and this week.

WRCAG has only been active for a few short months. We will continue to reach out to all the members of our community…different ethnicities, religions, ages, interests. Climate change will damage all of us…we need to work for change together, here, where we live.

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Manchester City Council declares a climate emergency!

Update:  Manchester council unanimously passed the climate emergency motion. Watch the discussion HERE.  As cllr. Wright notes, this is not just a declaration but also a plan.

UpdateSalford council will also be discussing a motion to declare a climate emergency on Wednesday 17th July.   9.30 am

See https://sccdemocracy.salford.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=134&MId=2217

While not so comprehensive as the Manchester motion, it is another step forward and Salford citizens will want to encourage their councillors to support it.

At next Wednesday’s full council meeting, (10th July) Manchester City Council will consider a backbench motion to declare a climate emergency.  The motion is detailed, with specific actions that go well beyond the council’s climate strategy to date. These include considering an earlier zero carbon target date, devising a strategy for public participation in working for climate solutions, taking account of aviation emissions, and calling for divestment from fossil fuels by the council’s pensions provider, the GMPF.  It has a good chance of success since it has the support of Executive members, including the leader.  However, it would do no harm for citizens who want this to go forward to let their councillors know they’d like them to vote for it.
Of course climate activists will want to continue to encourage the council to do more, and do it faster, and we will, but getting this motion agreed is likely to be a significant step, maybe a game changer, due its proposals for embedding climate action in all aspects of the council’s work and establishing a structure of open accountability through regular reporting.
The text of the motion is below, copied from the council’s website.  Members of the public have the right to attend the meeting.

“This Council notes:

    • The serious risks to Manchester’s people, of climate change/global heating affecting economic, social and environmental well-being, supply chains – including food security, financial systems and local weather, among many others
    • That in 2008 the ‘Principles of Tackling Climate Change in Manchester’ were agreed as a call to action to engage people from all walks of life in climate change action and, build support for a new way of thinking about climate change.
    • That Manchester leads the way, with an agreed Paris compliant carbon budget set in December 2018 and an acceleration of the target for becoming a zero-carbon city by 12 years, setting 2038 as the new target for the city, based on research from the word-renowned Tyndall Centre for Climate Change.
    • The recent and welcome upsurge of action by the young people of Manchester, exemplifying the radical traditions of which Manchester is proud.

This Council agrees (or to the extent that the below concern executive functions, recommends to the Executive) to:

    • Declare a Climate Emergency
    • 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. Become carbon neutral by the earliest possible date.
    • Encourage involvement in all wards by April 2020 through meetings as part of the Our Manchester strategy, to identify residents and partners who want to be actively involved in achieving the target, with provision for those who cannot attend. Ensure ward plans contain specific, measurable, achievable steps
    • Review all policies, processes and procedures to ensure the council can become carbon neutral. Present an action plan by March 2020 detailing how the city can stay within its carbon budget. Report back regularly to the NESC. Review the corporate plan
    • Work with the Tyndall Centre to review the actual emissions from aviation. Investigate the best way to include aviation in our overall carbon reduction programme in the long term
    • Make climate breakdown and the environment, an integral part of activity throughout the Council, including all decision making, ensuring key decisions take into account the impact on achieving the zero-carbon target and including an environmental impact assessment in all relevant committee reports
    • Ensure that everyone in the council receives carbon literacy training by the end of 2020. Make attendance easier by varying times and length of sessions
    • Encourage all staff on council business to use the lowest carbon, appropriate, travel
    • Investigate measures to ensure future procurement is carbon neutral. Increase the percentage of social value with an additional environmental element
    • Work with suppliers to green their supply chains, and support local production
    • Work with training providers to ensure Manchester residents can take on green jobs
    • Investigate and introduce measures to help reach domestic zero carbon levels including addressing fuel poverty and retrofitting existing homes
    • Investigate ways to ensure that future local plans place a mandatory requirement for all new development to be net zero carbon by the earliest possible date
    • Push GMCA to decarbonise public transport, heat and energy as early as possible
    • Through our role on GMPF, encourage divestment in fossil fuels as early as possible
    • Call on the government to:

–   provide powers and resources to make the zero-carbon target possible including funding for big capital projects

–   accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions from aviation

–   accelerate the decarbonisation of the electricity grid, funding low carbon energy generation

–  ensure that the UK prosperity fund focuses on enable the transition to a low carbon economy

Proposed by Councillor Annette Wright, seconded by Councillor Eve Holt, also signed by Councillors Jon-Connor Lyons, Yasmin Dar, Madeleine Monaghan, Emily Rowles, Angeliki Stogia, Nigel Murphy, Richard Leese, Mandie Shilton Godwin, Joanna Midgley, Marcus Johns, Williams Jeavons, Carl Ollerhead”

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