Letter: Councillors can make excuses or make things happen #climate #Manchester

Manchester Evening News published this today-

A letter in Viewpoints from many local groups (“Time for city to take bold action on climate change”, M.E.N 16th March) calls for ambitious and far-reaching climate scrutiny at Manchester Council. We are now hearing from allegedly sympathetic councillors who say – in response to our call for a scrutiny committee that looks at the whole of the city’s emissions – “shucks, would love to help, but we don’t have the power…”

It’s odd — there are scrutiny committees for Health, Economy and so on.  It’s also odd because Manchester City Council wants to be seen in a leadership position on so much, including climate change. The Council has spent well over half a million pounds on a community interest company it calls the Manchester Climate Change “Agency”, which is supposed to drive city-wide action. The Council set a carbon budget for the city. It has sent staff on fact-finding missions. It loves the publicity. But suddenly, when asked to have difficult conversations and set up a committee with good eyes, it’s all impossible.

Perhaps the real reason for reluctance is that a committee with clear eyes would reveal that the carbon budget was a publicity-stunt: we as a city have blown a quarter of the allowance for the rest of the twenty-first century in just two years. Such facts might upset the welcoming inward investment atmosphere that the Council leadership have spent thirty years cultivating.

Whatever the reasons, councillors need to decide if they are elected to make excuses or to make things happen.

Robbie Watt &  Chloe Jeffries

Climate Emergency Manchester

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