Is CEM “process obsessed”? (Spoiler: Hell yes, and proudly so)

Throughout Climate Emergency Manchester’s two years of existence  (and also quite recently) we have been accused of an awful crime.  That awful crime is… being “process obsessed.”

To that we say, cheerfully, “guilty as charged.”

We are totally obsessed with the process.

Why? Well, two things.

Firstly, what is the opposite of process? We think it isn’t chaos, necessarily. We think that, in this context, the opposite of “process” is … trust.

When people say ‘Don’t get caught up so much in the process’, we think that what they’re basically saying is ‘hey, but trust us.’

Now, trust requires a track record of success. And in Manchester, over the last ten years (longer, actually), on climate change, there is a track record instead of failure, of broken promises, of evasion and spin.

Richard Richard Richard…

So, a rational concerned individual would be foolish to have much (er, any) trust.

They would instead, rationally and sensibly, demand better processes.

On our good days, we in Climate Emergency Manchester are rational and sensible.

Secondly, if we don’t get into the weeds, if we don’t dig down into “process”, well all that is left is to argue about is the BSPs.  What they? Big Shiny Promises – usually with a far-distant target and subject to funding, of what should be aimed at. Fifty per cent cut by then. Everyone to be x by [insert date a decade away], Zero carbon by [insert date here].

The people running the climate show in Manchester have been doing it that way for literally decades, with a small number of acolytes cheering them on.

And what do we have to show for it? The city has burned through a quarter of its carbon budget for the entire 21st century in the last two years.  Hardly anyone has received “carbon literacy” training (for all the good it would do). Crappy decision making (like shoddy community “consultation”) gives us crappy decisions that lock in high-carbon behaviours (what else would you call Great Ancoats St).

So, in those cases, the process has been broken in some way – ignored, poorly implemented or just doesn’t exist. If we want to get better results, we don’t always need new promises, from the same old people or even from some new people. You wouldn’t ask a train driver or surgeon for them to promise to do better if there’s been a series of serious incidents.

We. Need. Better. Processes.

And we as Climate Emergency Manchester will continue, cheerfully and proudly, to accept the label “process obsessed.”  As so often is the case with evasions and attempted insults, it casts more shade on the person trying to throw it.

PS It’s somewhat bizarre too.  If people think there should be more BSPs they are free to advocate for them while at the same time agreeing to these so-called “process” commitments. It’s not as if BSPs and process commitments are mutually exclusive.

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