On Thursday 14th October the currently empty ritual of “scrutiny” continues. The all-Labour scrutiny committee will discuss four reports, one on waste (see here) and three which purport to be about the climate emergency (the first two really are not). Crucially, at no point in the 196 pages of the agenda pack does it state “in the last three years the city has burned 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, leaving only 9 million tonnes for the next 80 years if Manchester wants to stay within its carbon budget.” There is no report on this failure, or how to get on track. Just… silence. As if pretending a problem doesn’t exist will make it go away. So, regardless of what gets said of these following three reports, the fundamental victory for those who want to see no meaningful action on climate change is complete…
The second of the three “reports” is called “Development of Climate Change Framework 2.0 – Update on Consultation and Development of the detailed Action Plan.”
Fun fact,, In 2018 the Council and its climate “partnership” said the city would be zero carbon by 2038. Four years later, they’re still talking about developing detailed action plans…
The tl:dr is this – the Manchester Climate Change “Agency”, a fantastically expensive and ineffective figleaf that isn’t actually even an “agency” has been wasting everyone’s time, promising imminent delivery, since 2015, when it replaced a less expensive but equally ineffective outfit called the “Stakeholder Steering Group.” There is nothing to show for the Agency’s existence except some expensive glossy documents and some photo ops. The pitifully small and pointless “consultation” is a distraction from the awkward fact that 40. PER CENT. OF. THE CITY’S. CARBON. BUDGET. FOR. THE. TWENTYFIRST. CENTURY. HAS. BEEN. BLOWN. IN. THREE. YEARS.
Read on for a bellow(-of-)pain-by-bellow(-of-pain) account of what is missing .
The very first point is that right there in the “Summary” there is a deeply disturbing false claim, that soothes and tries to frame it as “everything as okay.”
“remain on track to be a zero-carbon city.” WTAF??
There is a total unwillingness to acknowledge the 40 per cent budget of the budget being used in 3 years.
At no point does anyone explain what was wrong with the Climate Change Framework 1.0, that is only a year and a half old? If it was that bad, surely the people responsible for creating it are nowhere near the development of 2.0… Oh, wait, it is the same people.
Later we are told
Then we move on to the latest wheeze, a meaningless (but not pointless) assembly and consultation . In 3.5 we learn only 65 residents were involved in the Assembly.
How many people stuck it out to the bitter end? Was anonymous feedback collected from them about whether the assemblies were ANY GOOD? Were their future learning and campaigning needs identified? We are not told.
But we’re not done with the Agency wasting money and time…
In 3.20 we learn that there were only 96 responses to its “consultation” (since gone up to 106) to the “survey”
In the appendix we learn they printed 4000 postcards and had it on (their own) socials.
Do they deem this survey a “success”? Against what pre-agreed baseline? What would they do differently next time (because there will be a next time)?
It gets worse. We learn that they claim to have “engaged” business.
Again, WHAT HAS THE AGENCY BEEN DOING SINCE IT WAS SET UP? Would not “barriers to action” be one of the first questions you asked? In 2009 the Council asked hundreds of businesses to endorse the 2009 Climate Action Plan. Has it maintained any of those relationships on this issue? If so, which? If not, why not? What do these people DO all day?
We then get into the weeds on the “consultation,” which is of course framed as “everything on track” and as if it is possible to “meet the targets set for 2025”.
Normally I wouldn’t waste your time here, but there is added hilarity, for values of hilarity that relate to #GallowsHumour. And no matter how hard they try to bury it, the truth gets out
Oddly, none of my replies to their survey (for reader, I am among the 106) got quoted. Fortunately, I screengrabbed my answers. Here’s some.
So, to come back to one of their favourite phrases.
“The draft Implementation Plan is still being developed”
AT ANY POINT IN THE LAST TEN YEARS, the officers (and Executive Members) have been saying this. It is a soothing phrase, meant to give the impression that soon the action will start. It. Never. Does.
Meanwhile, officers engage in meaningless but convenient busy work. They collect meaningless data (it is non-representative, non-random) and then spend time and energy “analysising” it because
a) it gives them something soothing to do
b) it gives them something superficially attractive and scientific to take up councillors’ limited time and energy with, meaning there is less time and energy devoted to the gaping hole at the centre of the Council’s climate “plans.”
The question, dear citizen, is whether you want to be complicit, or whether you want to demand more.
Climate Emergency Manchester’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org