In a shock announcement, the citizen’s group Climate Emergency Manchester has announced it will close, citing the vast improvement in the City Council’s response to the climate crisis since February.
The move, which comes as air quality improves dramatically in the city centre thanks to the coronavirus, has been greeted with relief by some officers in the Council, and by most of the City Council’s 92 Labour councillors (the Liberal Democrats were too busy infighting to give a statement).
Climate Emergency Manchester was established last year, and produced well-regarded reports such as Hung Drawn and Quarterly 1 (October 2019), With Love and Rockets (November 2019), Hung Drawn and Quarterly 2 (January 2020), Don’t you muppets have two brain cells to rub together? (Jan 2020), and Manchester City Council and Climate Change for beginners (February 2020), along with various briefing papers. It had developed techniques for making scrutiny committee meetings marginally less soul-destroying, and had recently established a petition calling for a seventh scrutiny committee and more cash for local climate action. The fate of this petition is unclear.
Calum McFarlane, co-founder of the group said
“We took a close look at the Council’s recently announced set of climate policies. Finally they are fully costed, and lay out an entirely clear and plausible pathway to be zero-carbon well before 2038. Citizens across all 32 wards are being engaged, and carefully listened to. Meanwhile, the airport is shutting down anyway, along with most of the economy. So, basically, the climate emergency is now fixed, and frankly we’ve all got things we’d rather be doing.”
Other groups expressed relief that the occasionally obstreperous group was to shutter. “What we need, really, is cheerleading of the Council and a general warm fuzziness. CEM kept spoiling the mood, with those dreadfully depressing reports based on Freedom of Information Act requests”, said Abby Ellis, citizen, on condition of anonymity.
The future prospects for the Core Group varies. Marc Hudson, one of the co-founders of the group said “When I yomp around Alexandra Park with my backpack full of bricks, jotting notes about climate change and my academic work, I often see the Executive Member for the Environment jogging in the opposite direction. Well, last week she stopped and, offered me the job of chair of the world-famous and highly effective Manchester Climate Change Agency, a position which I have long coveted. I said yes immediately, because the most important thing is to try to change the system, gradually, from within. We shook hands on it – social distancing be damned.”
Chloe Jeffries had second thoughts about folding the group. “With Marc finally gone, we thought there might be some constructive suggestions coming forward out of the group. But, you know, my ovaries aren’t getting any younger, so I am going to have babies. Two, possibly three. When they’re older, they can take part in the school strikes, if the Council gives schools permission, of course.”
Marion Smith stated that she was looking forward to many years of pastoral work at various University Halls of Residence, and possibly some recreational getting-arrested at various self-indulgent protests. Adam Peirce is returning to his true passion, advising the corporate sector on meeting minimum environmental standards at rock bottom prices.
Calum McFarlane, who is considering setting up a travel agency specialising in short-haul flights for shopping trips in European capitals, said that there was no chance CEM would continue in any fashion.
“We’ve called in the receivers to deal with our extensive debts. They should be arriving at some point this morning, Wednesday 1st April.”