Manchester City Council and Carbon Literacy – zero target, zero transparency

Manchester City Council  continues to fail on getting its elected members and officers to undertake carbon literacy training, displaying zero  leadership and zero emergency action.

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that not only does Manchester City Council have no target date for getting its councillors and officer to undertake carbon literacy training, but it continues to have no intention of informing the public about “progress.”

Van Halen
Who these guys? Read to the end…

Back in 2009 Manchester City Council started singing the praises of “carbon literacy” training, in the context of a (long abandoned and forgotten) plan to create a “low carbon culture.”   By the end of 2013 all  the one million people who lived, worked or studied in Manchester were going to have done the training. The actual number achieved? Around 4000.

At various points in the last 12 years the Council has made promises about getting its 96 Councillors to undergo the day-long training, and getting “all staff” carbon literate.  It has been repeatedly recommended by various scrutiny committees, in various promises. It has even popped up in Labour Party manifestos. In January 2014 they made a big song and dance about the first 500 staff having undergone the training (the author of this post crashed an event in the Town Hall).   In the next 7 and a half years, what has the number climbed to,, as of October 2021? 1117. What leadership!  What urgency!

Meanwhile despite passing a unanimous Climate Emergency Declaration in July 2019 which included a pledge that all 96 councillors and all 6000 staff of the council would have done their carbon literacy, the Council is now saying that there is NO TARGET-

We do not have a specific target for all staff and elected members to be trained. The action in the Climate Change Action Plan is to achieve gold carbon literate status by 2025

And is there any plan to have a publicly accessible database of which councillors have done their training?  So that voters can be informed and inspired (we’ve been asking this question every few months for the last however many years)? This is Manchester, we do things differently here.

There are no plans for a searchable database. Numbers are reported via the quarterly and annual Climate Change Action Plan updates which are published on the Council’s website and are discussed at Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee

Carbon literacy in and of itself is an irrelevant joke, a neoliberal “information-deficit model” soothing ritual that helps people virtue-signal  So why bang on about it? Because if Manchester City Council can blithely break its word on this, for a decade, because there is no leadership, no actual concern, what does that tell you about its trustworthiness and its, well, competence, on more difficult and significant questions? It’s a “no Brown M & Ms in the green room” situation.

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