VIDEO – Manchester’s Climate Inaction – The Honest Version!

Manchester City Council claim that their climate action is going very well – but it’s not!

On October 28th the Council released a misleading video about climate action in the city. They suggested citizens should do their bit, so we did – by correcting their video!

To respond properly to the challenge of the climate emergency, we need to start with honesty, not spin!

Do have a watch. We’ve posted the transcripts below, both for CEM’s honest version and the Council’s misleading account.

The music is also different – we’re not sure about the Council’s choice, but we have selected The Final Countdown, Bad Recorder Version. Fitting for the urgency of the crisis and the inadequacy of the Council’s ‘leadership’, no?

PS: Reminder of our social on Saturday 6th November at 5pm at the Sandbar on Grosvenor Street. All welcome!

CEM’s Honest Version Council’s Misleading Version
In 1988 the world woke up to Climate Crisis. Manchester City Council’s pro-aviation, pro-growth ideology remains untouched. The world is waking up to Climate Crisis. Nowhere is untouched. 
“With raging PR spin, scorching bright-siding, devastating blame-shifting, and disappearing carbon budgets – Manchester City Council keeps misleading us about climate action.” With raging wildfires, scorching heatwaves, devastating flash floods and disappearing glaciers, climate change – driven by man-made CO2, cannot be ignored. 
Manchester has been talking about taking action on climate change for more than 2 decades. In 2018 the city set a 15 million tonnes CO2 emissions budget for the rest of the 21st century. In the last 3 years, it’s burnt 6 million tonnes, or 40%. Manchester has been taking serious action on climate change for more than two decades. By 2018 Manchester had set an ambitious zero carbon goal for 2038 at the latest – 12 years ahead of the national target. 
“In 2019, we became one of the last of the Core Cities to declare a climate emergency because we were forced into it by them and by local activists.” Direct to camera 

“In 2019 we became one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate emergency, underlining the urgency of the task. 

We have cut our own emissions at the Council mainly by selling off buildings and cutting staff. Plans for the future are more uncertain.   Our Climate Change Action Plan for 2020-25 set out how the council, as an organisation, will halve our own carbon emissions by 2025.” 
A citywide framework was so vague we’re having to do it again, this time with SMART goals. Maybe. Voiceover 

A citywide framework shows how the city as a whole must respond. 

Two years into our “plan” and we’ve been spinning wildly. Direct to camera 

“Two years into our plan and we’ve achieved a lot.” 

20 years late, we’ve started retrofitting some of our highest-emission buildings. The ones we didn’t sell off or close down to fall into disrepair. Retrofitting our highest-emission buildings to generate renewable energy, cut emissions and energy costs – like these solar panels at Wythenshawe Forum – and securing millions in funding to do more. 
We have wasted huge sums of money on a Civic Quarter Heat Network which will run for the next 25 years on gas. A fossil fuel. This spews yet more carbon into the atmosphere. It even includes a tower of shame. Why not? This is Manchester. Developing a shared power and heating system, the Civic Quarter Heat Network, which will cut carbon emissions from the city’s most iconic buildings. It even includes a beautiful tower to show it off. Why not? This is Manchester. 
We are obsessed with the bin lorries run by Biffa. West Gorton’s new ‘sponge park’ was funded by the EU, and its high costs makes it difficult for anyone to repeat. We’re planting some trees. Everyone likes trees, don’t they? Trees. We might let some of them live for a while. 


Investing in more electric bin lorries than any other council. Creating West Gorton’s new “sponge park”. It prevents flooding and we will be using it as an example to bring forward other nature based solutions. Embarking on a three-year, million pound tree plan: the first thousand trees are already sprouting around the city. 
During the pandemic we didn’t bother to liaise with neighbouring local authorities about pop-up cycle lanes. That would be anti-car. We’re selling off public land, astroturfing playing fields. Nature is an inconvenience at best. We’re securing millions of pounds to fund active travel so walking and cycling is people’s first choice. And we’re creating new green spaces, such as city centre Mayfield Park, with a passion – people love them, nature loves them, our planet loves them. 
We’re saying yes to more phallic skyscrapers that blow our carbon budget and make air quality worse for local residents. We’ll keep taking credit for TfGM’s work, and stuffing up Low traffic neighbourhoods in Levenshulme and elsewhere. We’re working on new planning rules, which could insist that new buildings here are net zero carbon. We’ll keep championing improvements to public transport, active travel, electric vehicle charging, so that making the right choices for the climate gets easier. 
We will keep pointing to feel-good gimmicks to distract you from the big picture We’re working to minimise carbon emissions from key projects, for example you’ll only find electric vehicles being used inside the Town Hall as it’s repaired, restored and refurbished. 
As a Council we will possibly come close to a 50% reduction by 2025, but as a city, we will use up the entire carbon budget for the century by 2025. We’re currently on track to meet that 50% reduction in emissions by 2025, but there’s a long way to go. This is just the start! 
In the years ahead, we will keep “looking to do” much more. Incremental things we call radical. We might buy someone else’s solar power. Go us! In the years ahead we’re looking to do so much more. Radical things. Maybe our own large solar farm for renewable energy? 
So yes – we do “all this” spin because Manchester is obsessed with inward investment, has been since 1987 “So yes – we do all this because we’re Manchester and we want to take our part in tackling a global crisis.
So come on Manchester, the council is misleading you. Play your part as citizens by holding them to account, and create an honest, cleaner future. So come on Manchester; we’re playing our part, so play yours and together we’ll meet those targets and create a greener, cleaner future.

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