‘It’s time to escape the shackles of the 20th century economic mindset’ – local climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson tells Manchester council
Today, Steady State Manchester presented four recommendations to make Manchester a fairer, greener and more equitable society to Manchester City Council’s Economy Scrutiny Committee. The leader of the council Sir Richard Leese was also present. The recommendations include tackling youth unemployment through retrofitting housing, growing more food locally, a dashboard of measures which take the environment into consideration when looking at the economy and also tackling the long working hours culture. See the full recommendations here. Mark Burton’s presentation followed an important presentation by local climate scientist Kevin Anderson from Tyndall who highlighted the huge gap between what we know we need to do and our actual actions.
Anderson addressed the rather thorny topic of economic growth and pointed out that mitigation to avoid 4 degrees of warming is simply incompatible with a growing economy. He pointed out that growth is a proxy for social goods that we value such as literacy, jobs and welfare. However the two aren’t intractably linked and in fact growth is often a hinderance to how we think of achieving these social goods. Anderson suggested that greening Manchester’s infrastructure and investing in a low-carbon transport system would be key to creating social goods such as jobs for low-skilled workers, for reducing fuel poverty as well as reducing pollution and the city’s vulnerability to volatile energy prices.
Responding to a question from one of the councillors, Anderson said that the council does have a limited amount of money and the decisions they make must not lock in future generations into producing more emissions. Professor Anderson also pointed out the resources that the council has in the shape of an active civil society. He highlighted the work that Steady State Manchester has been doing and noted that engagement doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. The recommendations were all well received by the councillors present and although there were concerns about using term ‘steady state’ there was a real sense of agreement and consensus with the recommendations.
Chair of the scrutiny committee, Cllr Joanne Green (Harpurhey), recommended that officers review the recommendations as there was a lot of interest. There was also a suggestion to monitor progress of this agenda in a sub committee. There was particular interest in the recommendations to include an environmental index on the Manchester dashboard. Leese commented that although this would be difficult, it would be worth doing. Monthly recycling and waste data is already available and could the first step towards achieving this dashboard. It was interesting to note that Leese acknowledged the difference between good and bad growth. The committee members also showed a real interest in increasing the amount of food grown locally. Councillor Hackett (Charlestown) noted that we all want a sustainable, fairer, and more thought out society.
- SSM’s four more detailed specimen recommendations.
- #Manchester City Council to examine #climate and #steadystate economics Weds May 22nd #climatescrutiny (manchesterclimatemonthly.net)
- Kevin Anderson: “From Rhetoric to Reality” #Manchester #climate #adaptation (manchesterclimatemonthly.net)