#Climate Emergency #Manchester bulletin 002

Every fortnight we will post a two page A4 bulletin with progress reports, calls for specific help and mea culpas when (not if, when) we screw things up.  Basically, the tl:dr is this – the campaign is going well so far, but we would love more people to be involved in collecting signatures, organising meetings, giving talks etc.  Doesn’t have to be a long or an open-ended commitment. Please get in touch via our contact form.  And if you live, work or study within Manchester City Council’s boundaries, please sign the petition (online or on paper) and then share with everyone. If you can’t sign, please sign with everyone you know who can.

Here’s a link to the pdf of the second bulletin.

Here (no idea if legible are the two pages as image files.

cem bulletin 002 p1

cem bulletin 002 p2

200 online signatures! Interview with Anne Tucker. #climateemergencymcr #climate #Manchester

Whoop, we hit 200 signatures online (and we have a load more coming in on the paper form, which you can download here. To celebrate the latest round number, here’s another interview, this time with Anne Tucker of Moss Side. If you want to answer these questions, please do so and then send them in an email to climateemergemcymanchester@gmail.com, with the subject header “milestone interview”. Thanks!”

Also – please save the date – Thursday 23rd May, What next for climate action in Manchester? Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St. , 7pm mingling 7.30 meeting

1. Who are you, what do you do, why did you sign the petition?
anne tuckerMy name is Anne Tucker, I live in Moss Side . I’m retired but spend a lot of time working with residents in their alleyways helping make them into shared spaces/community gardens
I signed the petition as I think things are being done far too slowly to get emissions down. In particular we have to acknowledge that some aspects of what people consider “essential” must be limited or even stopped.
Manchester needs to respond much more robustly to the urgency of this, because of the speed of climate breakdown

2. Have you tried to get other folks to sign yet? If so, how, and how did that go?
I have shared the info on twitter and Facebook, I regularly discuss fossil fuels, fracking, airline travel and car driving with people I know. Mixed success – most people justify their activity or say “yes I know but I DO …….”. Some have changed things. All would like the govt/council to take a greater lead.

3. What suggestions do you have for those trying to get more people to sign the petition
Print out copies of it and show up friends. Discuss with whoever we can to get people to see importance
4. If Manchester City Council DOES declare a climate emergency, what should its first actions afterwards be?
1) Formulate clear policy against fracking, coal including using the public in campaigning if the govt forces the above
2) commit to no expansion of mcr airport . Advocate for frequent flier tax
3) commit to mcrs quota of tree planting for GTR MCRS new forest
4) push Andy Burnham to regulate the buses across GM area
5) prioritise cycling further

5. How do you think citizens could/should act to make sure that such a declaration is followed up with actual actions? What skills and knowledge are needed for that?
As above.
2) Organisation at street level to get citizens to understand and sign up to campaigns for lowering emissions, including tenants, residents and other community groups
3) set up equivalent of “commiseration books” like they do after disasters, and encourage resident groups to list their achievers, questions and challenges
I am less confident about how to get more people as activist leaders from across the city communities …..

6. Anything else you’d like to say
Let’s go for it!

In celebration of 150 signatures online… #climateemergencymcr

Yesterday the online petition went past 150 signatures. That’s not a particularly significant number to do an interview but nonetheless,  every time we do hit a round number from now on, we will post an interview with someone who has signed (we got number 10, but we missed 50 and 100) .

If you’ve signed and you want to answer these questions below, please email us your answers to climateemergencymanchester@gmail.com with “petition interview answers” in the header.  If you haven’t signed, please do, and get your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, random people at bus stops to sign too.

Hannah Knox_081. Who are you, what do you do, why did you sign the petition?
I’m Hannah Knox, I’ve lived in Manchester since 1996 and I signed the petition because I think we need to do everything we can to get climate change recognised as the crisis that it is.

2. Have you tried to get other folks to sign yet? If so, how, and how did that go?
No not really – most of my social networks are outside Manchester. I’ve told a few people about it.

3. What suggestions do you have for those trying to get more people to sign the petition
Given I haven’t done this myself I can’t really comment. I guess if pushed I’d say use your links, friendship groups, social networks – and use it as a talking point too.

4. If Manchester City Council DOES declare a climate emergency, what should its first actions afterwards be?
Manchester City Council has been engaging with climate change for a long time now but it feels like there’s a window of opportunity right now to step things up a gear. Science-based targets have been really important for legitimising attention and creating some action, but they also create problems for policy makers, cutting the city up into areas of activity that don’t address the interconnected nature of the problem. This allows good work being done in one area to be undone by work in another area.

In response to a climate emergency declaration I think the council needs to go beyond climate change as a demarcated area of concern as defined by the science to treat climate change as a key aspect of all the material transformations of the city (not just the low carbon ones). Last year I was part of a research project, People’s Republic of Energy, that recommended Greater Manchester set up a people’s Infrastructure Observatory (based on the Paris Water Observatory). I still think this would be a great idea – creating the opportunity to link devolution, development and climate change into a single agenda on the city’s future. Tackling climate change is ultimately about transforming infrastructure, so using it to drive infrastructure planning (road, rail, digital, gas, electricity, buildings) would be a way of shifting action into a new, more positive, register.

5. How do you think citizens could/should act to make sure that such a declaration is followed up with actual actions? What skills and knowledge are needed for that?
So the idea of an infrastructure observatory would be that citizens and representatives from other big organisations (NHS, Universities, Property Firms) would all be part of the panel. This would put people at the heart of city transformations and would provide some kind of structure of holding the city to account during (rather than after) the process of decision making. In infrastructure development there is a long (not always successful!) history of public engagement so it would also be a good place to pursue innovative forms of public participation that go beyond consultation (e.g. Hybrid Forums, co-production, citizen’s panels).

Meeting: “What next for #climate action in #Manchester” Thurs 23rd May

On Thursday 23 May, on the eve of the next Youth Strike for Climate, the crucial question of ‘what next?’ will be discussed at a free public meeting at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St.  Speakers will include Emma Greenwood from Youth Strike for Climate, and representatives from Climate Emergency Manchester, Rising Up! Manchester Families, GMUnite Community Climate Group and Extinction Rebellion Manchester .

Mingling from 7pm for a 7.30pm start. The speeches will be no more than 5 minutes each, and the meeting itself will be genuinely interactive and networks-building

More details to follow shortly – this is a “hold the date” announcement.

Meanwhile, two things. Firstly, iwhatnextfor cliamte action squaref you want to help get involved in publicising/organising this event, please get in touch via cliamteemergencymanchester@gmail.com with “May 23” in the subject header.

Secondly, if you live, work or study in Manchester, please sign the petition calling on Manchester City Council to declare a climate emergency, and then encourage your friends, neighbours, colleagues, acquaintances and total strangers to sign too.  You can get involved in the campaign by filling in this contact form – we will get straight back to you.

Greater #Manchester Combined Authority has no petitions scheme. A FoIA…

On Saturday 13th April 2019 I sent this email to enquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk

Dear Sir/Madam,

Recently I enquired about whether the GMCA had a petitions scheme.  After a short unexplained delay in replying (due to the seeking of legal advice) the person I emailed said that they could

“confirm that the GMCA does not have a petition scheme as the current legislation does not apply to Combined Authorities.”

I am certain the Mayor agrees that there are lots of things we are not legally obliged to do that we should (for example, helping the aged and infirm cross the road safely or instituting and obeying an ‘only-fly-when-there-is-no-viable—alternative’ policy to choose two examples at random).  I am also certain that he wants people to be able to express their grievances through the traditional channels, including petitions. This is, after all, the new age of Listening.

I also note that other combined authorities in the UK have gone ahead and gone beyond their minimal legal obligations.  For example, Cambridgeshire-Peterborough (I added the red ellipse for dramatic effect)

petitions cambridgeshire


Source: October 2018 agenda

It turns out the Liverpudlians have one too, as best I can tell-

liverpool city region petition april 2019

Source – April 2019 agenda

And the North of Tyne crew.

north of tyne

Source: November 2018 minutes

I stopped going through the list of Combined Authorities at that point….

So, all this leads to the following three requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which the Combined Authority is, thankfully, covered by.

ONE I would like copies of all correspondence between Andy Burnham and other GMCA actors (I mean this in the academic sense of people taking action, not in any pejorative sense) around petitions scheme

TWO I would like copies of the minutes of all meetings at which a petition scheme has been discussed.

THREE If, as I suspect and fear, there is no correspondence and no minutes, I would like a statement from the GMCA about when it intends to get around instituting a petition scheme. If it doesn’t, I’d like a statement as to why not.
Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Marc Hudson

[address supplied]

#Climate Emergency #Manchester Fortnightly Bulletin #001 15 April 2019

Welcome to the first “progress report” on the Climate Emergency Manchester campaign.

First of all, it is a campaign to connect people who are already concerned about climate change, so that they get to know other people who live near them, and can swap knowledge and skills. Secondly it’s a campaign that lets those people talk to friends, neighbours and colleagues about the climate emergency.  Finally, it’s   a way of putting pressure on  Manchester City Council to take climate change seriously, instead of the fine but vague promises they’ve been making for the last ten years.

At the moment there are two key personnel – Marc Hudson and Calum.  We’d love to have more people helping co-ordinate things, so if you’re interested in a few months of unpaid, unglamorous but vital work, then do get in touch via climateemergencymanchester@gmail.com

If you don’t want to be a core member of the team but you DO want to collect signatures/share info on facebook etc, or throw ideas and suggestions our way, that is also great – there’s a sign up form to fill in.  And you can download petition forms here. When they are full (or when you’ve done as much as you can!) please email us or take them to the Sandbar, 120 Grosvenor St, in an envelope marked “Climate Emergency Petition” and give to the staff.  We will collect!

So far, in the first two weeks we have

  • Set up the very basic website climateemergencymanchester.net
  • Designed a relatively clear petition sign-up form which you can download here.
  • Set up a sign up form for people to volunteer their time/skills (seven ppl used so far)
  • Had email clarification with Manchester City Council about the collection of signatures, and have amended the form accordingly, providing basic advice.
  • Collected 102 signatures online so far (thanks to everyone who has wrestled with the website registration and over 70 paper ones, at various events.

Crucial things you can do this week

On Thurs 18th April at 9pm  David Attenborough’s documentary about climate change will be broadcast. If you watch it, please tweet about it with the hashtag #climateemergencymcr and a link to the petition, and – if you can, to the climateemergencymanchester.net site too. So, sample tweet could be along lines of

David Attenborough tells us about #climate threat. If you live, work or study in #Manchester, please sign this petition and share it too. https://democracy.manchester.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=20


Similarly, Radio 5 Live is “doing” climate change all day on Thursday. Similar tweets would be good!

  • Friday 19 April 12-2 Fridays for the Future, St Peters’ Square.

Ways to get involved

(we’ve divided these into simple/complex, quick/long – it’s a bit subjective though!

Simple and quick –

  • fill in the sign up form…. (we’ll get right back to you),
  • add some text to your email signature, – e.g. I’ve signed the petition calling for Manchester City Council to declare a climate emergency. If you live, work or study in Manchester, you can (should!) too.  https://bit.ly/2uBnnFS
  • share the petition link on Twitter or Facebook and tag some friends/acquaintances.

Simple and long –

  • Write a letter to your local paper about the petition and why it matters
  • Collect signatures at your place of work

Complex and quick –

  • change your facebook/twitter photo to something that specifically supports the petition even if only briefly,
  • lobbying your councillors by email
  • upload a short video telling people about the petition and why it matters (send us a link please!)

Complex and long

  • Get involved in devising a proper bells-and-whistles social media/online set of tools advertising the petition and the connect-stuff

Meetings attended (to gain signatures).

Please, if you know of meetings we should attend, or meetings where they need a climate emergency speaker, contact us on climateemergencymanchester@gmail.com

  • Extinction Rebellion talk in Didsbury Thurs 4th April
  • Extinction Rebellion meeting at the Sandbar, Monday 8th April
  • Climate Strike Friday 12th April
  • “Letters to the Earth” Royal Exchange  Friday 12th April


Dates for your diary (at which we need volunteers to help collect signatures…)

  • Next climate strike Friday 24th  May.  Follow @YouthStrikemcr for more info



The network

Since last bulletin Total now
Number of contact forms submitted 7
Number of personalised replies sent within 48 hours 7
Number of “network building” emails sent (where we try to connect two or more ppl) 1


The petition

Since last bulletin Total now
Number of online signatures 102
Number of paper signatures (estimate) 70


Why a “climate emergency” petition?

At the moment, the local authorities in Manchester are either able to ignore climate change, or else are talking the talk but not walking the walk.

One way that concerned citizens could force the politicians to at least talk about climate change  would be to use the petitions scheme that every council has.  

If a petition  gets 1% of the people who live in a council area as signatories  (and that can be electronic or on paper), then the Council HAS to debate the motion put forward. That doesn’t mean they have to pass the motion, or then do anything, but it does mean they have to talk about it.

The additional benefits are as follows

  • Asking people to sign the petition creates the opportunity for dialogue with them that might lead on to them being slightly-or-much more involved in campaigning/activism.
  • It gives people who sign the petition an “excuse” to talk to their friends, families and colleagues, breaking the silence around climate change and what we could/should do
  •  The process of getting those signatures – and it won’t be easy – will help create or expand networks, and help them improve their skills and knowledge.

Below is the petition that has been set up, already, for Manchester City Council.  The other nine local authorities do not (yet) have petitions.

In the next post I will go into more detail about what the skills, knowledge and  relationships involved might be.


Petitions: Why not use the “democratic” structures?

As of 2009, all local authorities were obliged to introduce an e-petition scheme. If you get more than 1% of the folks who live/work/study in an area to sign a proper petition (where you have to confirm your name, address, eligibility etc), then the council has to debate the issue you put forward.  So, say, for example, that someone had put forward this –

We the undersigned petition the council to

declare a climate emergency, with a target to be “zero carbon” by the year 2030, with a proportionate share of Manchester Airports emissions (35.5 percent owned by the Council) included in the carbon budget it sets.

Further information

Other councils around the United Kingdom have declared a climate emergency. While Manchester has set a target of being zero-carbon by 2038 (based on production-based emissions), this is not ambitious enough. Moreover, it excludes a fair share of the overall emissions from Manchester Airport. Declaring a climate emergency, and then taking the relevant actions, will show true leadership on the crucial issue facing young people today.