Sunday, 26 October 2008

Issue 10- The End of the World is "NI"?

Despite warnings of dire consequences if carbon dioxide (C02) emissions aren't cut, local authorities (LAs) throughout Greater Manchester are still not taking the problem seriously. Figures obtained (see table) by Manchester Climate Fortnightly (MCFly) from official DEFRA data show that most LAs are either standing still or even getting worse. The main offender is Manchester City Council, with a 2.9% increase between 2005 and 2006, the last year for which figures were available.
Only seven of the ten Greater Manchester LAs- Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford- have agreed to adopt a “National Indicator” (number 186) aimed at reducing emissions within their borders. The three who haven't- Bolton, Bury and Wigan- are still obliged to cut CO2 emissions. When asked why they hadn't, Bolton and Bury Councils did not even bother to respond to MCFly. Wigan council replied “we did not adopt NI 186 for a number of reasons. We have adopted NI 188 (adaptation) as a priority indicator related to Climate Change.” National Indicator 188 is designed to ensure that LAs are 'prepared to manage risks' from a 'changing climate' and so is basically a reactive policy, albeit a necessary one.
Your local authority should have set a target for reducing CO2 emissions. For example, Trafford have set a target “of 9.4% reduction by 2010/11 based on figures gathered in 2005/6.”
It would be worth writing to your Council and ask what target they have set and perhaps encourage them to be a little bolder, given what is at stake.
"The Ferret"
For more information on National Indicators-

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Climate Bill. YOU can make it stronger, if you phone NOW.

Manchester Climate Fortnightly will NOT normally endorse campaigns, or post stuff on the blog asking you to do things. But Friends of the Earth have worked so hard on this campaign, and it is so important that the Climate Bill includes international aviation and shipping, that we beg you to do what the FOE email below asks you to do.

Dear Friend,

As someone who has signed up to and been closely involved in these final stages of the Big Ask campaign for the Climate Change Bill we wanted to tell you of our recent success, and ask you to take a quick action.

The Report Stage votes on the Bill – i.e. THE big votes we've been waiting for all summer – will happen on *Tuesday 28 October*. That's /this /coming Tuesday! At these votes, MPs will vote on a list of amendments to the Bill.

The Government will be suggesting an amendment that will be to raise the 2050 emissions reduction target from 60% to 80%. This follows the advice of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) two weeks ago. But it is also, to a huge extent, a result of the pressure you have put on
MPs over the last few months. Well done! We are sure that this amendment, with Government support, will pass. So we have won on our 80% ask!

The Government still opposes one crucial improvement we are tabling, calling for international aviation and shipping emissions to be included in the Bill. This is despite the advice from the CCC that these emissions should be included.

Thanks to your efforts we know that all the opposition parties as well as significant numbers of backbench Labour MPs support the inclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions in the Bill. But the Government will try its best to stop MPs from voting for this amendment. So...

*Urgent Action:*

A few more minutes of your time will make a real difference to the way MPs vote. Please call your MP and ask them to:

"Please vote for the amendments that include international aviation and shipping emissions in the Climate Change Bill."

You can contact your MP by calling the House of Commons switchboard on 020 7219 3000 and asking to be put through to your MP's Westminster office.

Please do try to find the time to make this call if you can – you will be making a /huge/ difference.

Thanks and congratulations on your efforts to win this amazing Bill. We're nearly there.

Best wishes,

Julian Kirby
Parliamentary Unit

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Sombre reminder of climate disarray

Yet another reminder of the perilous disequilibrium of earth's climate
has come our way, via the Royal Society and the Tyndall Centre for
Climate Change Research. Two of the sharpest brains at Tyndall, Dr Alice
Bows and Prof Kevin Anderson (both at Tyndall North here in
Manchester), have put together an assessment of the politically driven
aim to restrict global average temperature increase to 2 degrees
centigrade. They find this aim to be seriously defective, and in a
closely argued and densely referenced 20 page paper they offer their

Their assessment of our capacity to restrain temperature to bearable
limits focuses on (a) the recent acceleration of 21st century CO2
emissions, well beyond the bounds of the working assumptions of the IPCC
4th Assessment Report (AR4) (2007) and of the Stern Report (2006); (b)
the neglect in current political thinking of the powerful role played by
deforestation and by other greenhouse gases; (c) the implied naivety of
the generalised (and politically useful?) belief that the route to a
stable atmospheric concentration of CO2 (and the other greenhouse gases)
can be attained without detailed attention being paid to the emission
"route" through which this supposedly ideal, or at least tolerable,
concentration will be attained. This route necessitates defining a peak
year for emissions, and then defining a steeply decreasing year-by-year
curve in emissions down to a near-zero "no-regrets" minimum.
They show with rigorous argument and calculation that it will be much
much harder - and possibly politically impossible - to hold the
anticipated temperature increase below 2 degrees, and show that a more
honest assessment of the way things industrial and political are going
is that an increase of the order of 4 degrees is likely - and that
society should plan for the appropriate adaptation.
The politically possible and the physically necessary demands in carbon
emissions are thus in unreconcilable conflict. The extremely steep
annual drops in emissions needed by the biosphere and its human
inhabitants do not seem to be achievable.

"Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission
trends" by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows.

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A
Published online