Text of #Climate Emergency speech by Councillor Mandie Shilton Godwin, July 10th

Following on from yesterday’s text of Councillor Annette Wright’s speech proposing  the Climate Emergency motion, we can now print the supporting speech in Council (10 July 2019) of Councillor Mandie Shilton Godwin (Labour, Chorlton Park).

I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to sign this motion and thank you to Cllr Annette Wright for bringing it forward this morning.

Yesterday I was proud to attend the first Citizen’s Assembly to discuss the climate emergency with young people at Chorlton High School where I am a Governor, where we discussed what they as students and the school as a community will do to bring about change.  It was a really powerful event, and although I know that many people deplored that young people have come out of school for the climate strikes, in fact, to me it was clear that their actions have already brought about changes in their own communities and I want to stand here in solidarity with them. Later today, Chorlton Park councillors will be at a Barlow Hall primary school in our ward to see the works they too have done on this agenda. 

 Manchester is a proud international city. We know that the greatest impact falls on those who are least able to protect themselves because of poverty.  Most urgently that means those who even now are suffering in the poorest countries from emergencies such as storms, hurricanes and floods, in parts of the world where resilience is lowest, for example recently those in Mozambique. And closer to home, when there were floods in this city, it was those who can’t afford insurance who suffered the most.  And it will always be so. This agenda is a social justice agenda. 

I’d like to look at some of the practicalities, not just what we say but what we do, which is essential, as the stark and depressing report from the Government’s committee on Climate Change which was published this morning, so clearly demonstrated. 

I’d like to draw every councillor’s attention to two clauses in this motion, where you can play your part. First, point 6, ensuring that all policies and papers that come before your scrutiny committees include, upfront, an assessment of the impact of all council activity on the climate, so that we are all rowing our boats in the same direction; – this is, in fact, already part of what we should be doing to meet Our Manchester ambitions.  Secondly, point 3; by ensuring that your ward plans include specific and measurable steps to make this a reality across the city. Unless we do this we will be in danger of allowing activities that run counter to our good intentions to slip through the net. 

And then secondly: points 9 and 10; by using the considerable leverage that we have within the supply chain.  All of the powers at our disposal and all of the opportunities that we can generate, to ensure that what we do has the greatest possible positive impact, whether on energy reduction, or biodiversity, or development. And that also means seriously looking at what we need to do at and through the Airport. 

Finally, we need to exert every drop of influence that we can, – via our MPS and through our direct connections to Govt, to ensure that they pay proper attention and detailed to this issue.  We need national legislation and frankly, the injection of some serious funding, so that we can step up our activity to meet the rightful expectations of our citizens.