Briefing note on GMCA Climate Change Strategy Consultation

Update, May 2016:  There is now a draft GMCA climate change plan available.  We found it in the agenda for the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership 16/5/16, following a tip from Salford Star).  Here is a quick analysis (done for Fossil Free Greater Manchester).

Response to the GMCA Climate Change Plan.
The draft GMCA climate change plan is an improvement from the draft on which they consulted in September.  It needs to deliver a reduction of 5.15 Megatonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.  It now has more detail and the projected gap between the Greenhouse Gas reduction target and what planned actions will deliver has narrowed slightly from 1.68 MT but is still around 1.48 Megatonnes.  This appears to be in the context of a reduction in national government’s contribution to emissions reductions from 2.91 to 1.2 Megatonnes.

However, a major problem with the previous plan was its optimism and vagueness and while there is some improvement, the new draft plan, although identifying new actions, gives little more real detail than the original document on what will actually be done and how these actions will lead to the estimated emissions reductions.  Many of the proposed actions seem optimistic but it is difficult to assess them given the lack of detail and a lack of information on  time-scales, finance and risks to implementation in what is now a very short time-frame of just four years to make a one third reduction to the city region’s greenhouse gas emissions.  It is worth noting that the ESB / Carrington and Wainstones/Carlton Traford gas plants will together emit more than 4 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, close to the total savings in the plan.

Although a short summary of the main findings from the consultation exercise is included in the report to the Local Enterprise Partnership, there is little detail and consultees are described as “a robust mix of companies, academics, public sector stakeholders”: civil society organisations, including campaigning groups appear to have been forgotten yet several of us made detailed submissions.

Fossil Free Greater Manchester is campaigning for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund to move its money out of the fossil fuel industry.  While this will not have a direct impact on the region’s CO2 emissions, it would provide a way to fund some of the needed investment in local energy efficiency and renewable energy that is urgently required if we are to make the rapid and radical transition from burning fossil fuels with their climate consequences.

Mark Burton
for Fossil Free Greater Manchester

Our original post from 11 November 2015, follows.


The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (the nearest thing we have to a regional government) is consulting on its Climate Change Strategy for the period until 2020.

We have prepared a briefing note that can be download by clicking THIS LINK.

The Strategy sets an ambitious target of 48% reduction of carbon dioxide equivalent ( CO2e) emissions reduction by 2020, using 1990 as a baseline. By 2013 (the last year for which figures are available) the fall since 1990 had been 23%. That leaves 25% to go in 7 years, 2 of which have already passed (with unknown results). Put another way, emissions need to fall by an unprecedented 32% from the 2013 figure (i.e. by 5.15Mt CO2e, from 16.15mt to 11mt).

Our briefing sets out the main points of the Strategy and contextualises them. It then looks at the proposed actions ,commenting on their adequacy or inadequacy. To give the game away, we are underwhelmed by the Strategy which despite its ambitious headline target uses a lot of print to celebrate the minimal action to date, is very short on the kind of detail we might expect from a Strategy worthy of the name and makes some rather optimistic assumptions about some of its proposed interventions.

We also take you through the short consultation questionnaire with our commentary.

Please do contribute to the consultation, both with the online questionnaire but also by raising the issues with your elected representatives and in any other place where you have a voice.

CLICK HERE for our briefing (pdf file).

The consultation link (both download of the Strategy and the consultation survey link) is at: https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/news/article/20/consultation_launched_as_gm_sets_out_plans_to_cut_its_carbon_emissions and will be there until 11 December, 2015.

Updated with minor correction 11/11/15
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5 Responses to Briefing note on GMCA Climate Change Strategy Consultation

  1. judith515 says:

    I have completed the survey with this helpful briefing. The recent blog on this site, How can education help to shape a Steady State culture?: A Discussion Paper, was helpful too. I answered on the questionnaire page, Sustainable Consumption and Production

    3. Are the behaviour change actions enough for people and businesses to engage and achieve the described targets?

    No
    A public health approach is needed. Johnson, http://greenallianceblog.org.uk/2013/04/02/communicating-sustainability-lessons-from-public-health/, points out that public health has been wrestling with the issue of cultural change for decades and that hard, costly, time consuming lessons have been learned that we can all learn from. His plea is that we start from people’s lives, not the issue.
    A public health approach focuses on structural change which makes sustainable choices easier choices through a myriad of whole system measures because individuals and groups are located within a wider web of influences which dramatically affects the amount of control they have to make changes. Education, with decision makers and others, can encourage measures in other areas to be addressed.

  2. Pingback: Greater Manchester Spatial Framework: another strategy flawed by “growth” | Steady State Manchester

  3. Dominic McCann says:

    In terms of “ESB / Carrington and Wainstones/Carlton Traford gas plants will together emit more than 4 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year” whilst far from being in favour of new gas powered infrastructure it is important to look at such issues in terms of the real CO2 emissions including those that might occur goegraphically outside Greater Manchester. Thus whilst the new gas fired power plants will definitely be new sources of CO2 they are set to replace the coal plant at Fiddlers Ferry. This is geographically outside Greater Manchester but is likely to be the main source of electricity (and CO2 emissions) for this region.
    Thus the issue of new gas fired plants is more a question of tying the region into a fossil fueled future than and we should be asking question like: can the gas needed to fire these power plants be sourced from renewable sources? how much electricity will be needed to power homes, school and business activity etc across Greater Manchester – ie strategic questions.

    • Yes, a contextualised analysis is important, but see this link to the FoE full analysis of UK gas plant plans: https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/return-dash-gas-sept-2015-87467.pdf

      • Dominic McCann says:

        Totally agreed, I was just pointing out the dangers of appearing to “blame” Greater Manchester authorities for gas fired power plants which are essentially part of a bigger problem / issue. I realise that is not what you were probably saying, but that is the danger. The GMCA Climate Change Strategy is full of issues that can and should be critiqued and it is even relevant to look at the electricity systems that supply Greater Manchester (whilst recognising that GMCA cannot currently control that); however, it is important to separate out national and regional issues.

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