Like the times, the Climate Change Action Plan (“Manchester. A Certain Future”) will be changing. This is not a scoop or an exclusive:- Manchester City Council has said all along that a document put together between July and September, a document that deals with a fast-changing target like climate change, a document for a city not just a Council, was going to need further work. That 'iterative process' will keep us all busy next year.
Approved without demur by the 10 member Executive of the Council on November 18, the 64 page plan has two headline goals- "to reduce the city of Manchester’s emissions of CO2 by 41% by 2020, from 2005 levels" and "to engage all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations in Manchester in a process of cultural change that embeds ‘low carbon thinking’ into the lifestyles and operations of the city."
MCFly asked various political parties what they thought of the Plan. On the airport: the Liberal Democrats said “There is no logical reason why a Council should own an airport, but as we do own one, we should use our influence to set a target to reduce CO2 emissions.” The Greens said “the council should retain its stake but use it to reduce the airport's true carbon footprint - i.e. the flights. They should not sell it off to the private sector.”
MCFly asked "what's missing?" The Lib Dems are worried about the lack of short term targets, and how this strategy fits in with our commitments to the 10/10 agenda, and are "also worried that there are no annual targets so we can see how we are progressing to the 2020 targets. There is little to explain how we are going to lever in the £1million matched funding.” The Greens said “major deficiencies are the lack of detail as to how the 41% will actually be reached, and the absence of any plan for beyond 2010. The vision could and should be much better. On transport for instance (beyond a nod to video-conferencing) there is no recognition of the need to move away from the commuter model and the recognition that public transport also has a carbon cost. It is somehow expected to co-exist with the Council's other plans for continuous economic growth, and with planning decisions such as the destruction of Hasty Lane, which was taken just one day after the action plan's approval. This completely undermines confidence in both the process and the plan itself."
On what's praiseworthy (this doesn't come naturally to opposition parties!) the Lib Dems were “comfortable with most of the detail in the Action Plan, and the model for engagement has been good (although it shouldn't have taken 20 months).” The Greens said “the Council are being genuinely ambitious with it, particularly when compared with the other Greater Manchester boroughs. As well as a proposed 41% cut in the City's carbon footprint by 2020, there is a 'commitment to create a Total Carbon Footprint framework' by 2013 [and] numerous good ideas ranging from the large-scale insulation of housing to increasing local food production. The use of Manchester citizens to help draw up the plan instead of the previous use of remote consultants is also to be welcomed."
Call to Real Action, the grassroots group that inspired/cajoled the Council into adopting a more participatory method of drafting the Action Plan, are releasing their response on Monday 30 November. It will be available at www.calltorealaction.wordpress.com
At time of going to press, the Conservatives, the Socialist Worker's Party and Friends of the Earth had not replied. When they do, we will let you know.
For more info www.manchesterclimatefortnightly.info/futureimperfect.html
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