If Manchester City Council used up a quarter of its entire budget for a year in a week, you’d hear about it. There would be emergency meetings, panicked and sweaty inquiries. What had gone wrong? Who had not acted? What could be done to recover the situation? There would be gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes while a scapegoat or three was found. Journalists and commentators would be chiming in with free opinions.
This week, we learnt – buried in the middle of a glossy feelgood report – that the city of Manchester has burned through one quarter of its entire carbon budget for the rest of the 21st century (2018-2100) in… two years.
And the response? A parallel universe happy-clappy “conference” where the host even admitted he wasn’t going to raise the question because the 90 minute climate “conference” wasn’t actually about climate change (which will probably come as a surprise to the 200 people attending) but about economic recovery. And when given the opportunity to lead, to tell the truth, to explain the reasons for the failure, the consequences, and the remedial action there was… crickets. Unless you count being told that scrutiny is “irrelevant.” (It isn’t. Only dictators and those with things to hide want you to look away. Sign and share our petition for a seventh scrutiny committee!)
We learnt that when elected members try to scrutinse, try to ask about specific actions that have been taken on the Climate Emergency, they will basically be fobbed off with irrelevancies.
We also learnt that Climate Emergency Manchester is getting better at online meetings (we held a well-attended one on Monday 20th July – report to follow this Sunday. The next one is at 8pm on Tuesday 1st September).
We learnt that if you want to get an reply from your councillors to basic questions, you may need to get a letter published in the Manchester Evening News. Then you may get a reply (which may or may not include answers).
We learnt that volunteering/doing projects with Climate Emergency Manchester is rewarding (not financially, obvs). There is a lot to get involved IN, btw – not just our upcoming reports, but more scrutiny, the Active Citizenship Toolkit, the petition and much else.
Btw, if you’re looking for something to do- this Saturday, from 12 noon, there is a socially-distanced cycle ride/protest in Levensulme, about the lack of pop-up cycle lanes. Members of the CEM core group will be there too. Do say hello!