December 2021 – the month ahead locally, nationally, internationally

Welcome to December and CEM’s look at the month ahead. We compile these short digests to highlight initiatives and anticipate major developments around climate at a local (Manchester, occasionally Greater Manchester), national and international level.

The look ahead is both a selection of events that you might like to attend, and stories to be aware of because they hold wider significance. It is not comprehensive. We’ll pick just a couple of items under the national and international heading. If we miss a Manchester meeting, training, or some other goings-on, let us know. We’ll try to amend, include or, if it seems really important, give it a post of its own.


Manchester City Council

For those who savour stories of Labour party turmoil, the start of December must have felt like eating all your advent calendar chocolates at once. Stories of multiple internal struggles have been covered well by other news outfits or shared online. For the month ahead, expect these conflicts to continue to play out, influencing other discussions even after the media coverage fades. 1st December also saw the changing of the guard, the swearing in of a new leader for the first time since 1996. Cue several fresh profiles of Bev Craig. But how many pin down what she is actually going to do, including on climate? In print and in yesterday’s speech she floated some interesting but vague ideas, tried to give a sense of who she ‘is’ rather than making clear promises. Expect more of this language over the month ahead. Some may argue for a ‘settling in’ period (although isn’t that why you choose someone already part of the organisation? The person with the deputy job?). But we cannot still be saying ‘wait and see’ in January, February – or by the time her 100 days are up on 11 March 2022.

Of course, all of this helps to further detract from the Manchester Climate Change Agency Report, sneaked out at the end of the November, which shows that the city has burnt through 40% of its carbon budget in just three years.

Scrutiny Committees

The big ticket item for climate comes at the Environment and Climate Scrutiny Committee next Thursday, 9th December, with an agenda item on Manchester Airport.  Look out for the CEM report exposing the contradictions of this position!

Campaigning Groups


Launching our airport exposé on 2nd December. A must-read.

On Saturday 4th December, we are holding our monthly training and social session in Sandbar, from 4-6pm. In the first half, 4-5pm, we will review the key items coming up at next week’s scrutiny committee meetings and provide an introduction to holding the council to account for anyone new (or in need of a refresher!). Then 5pm – 6pm is social, chat, no holds barred.



The Levelling Up White Paper is FINALLY due in the next week or two, after the previously rumoured dates of September and November whooshed past. This is a much-delayed ‘flesh on the slogan’ document from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC – apparently you pronounce it ‘deluxe’. Or just say Gove).  We’ll find out in more detail how the government will define and, crucially, fund levelling up, with a framework for specific policies and metrics (maybe). Mayor Andy is just one of the more prominent voices to argue that the levelling up and net zero agendas must converge, although there have already been transport cancellations in the North. Look out for the deals for the North East too, and the role it might play in energy production.

On 8th – 9th December, the three climate change activists who applied for a judicial review of the legality of the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the body that oversees the North Sea, will see their cause go before the High Court. The OGA strategy currently states that the regulator has a duty to “maximise the economic recovery” of the country’s reserves of hydrocarbons. The campaigners’ case, which centres on claims that much production is often not economic because it is underpinned by a generous tax regime, will force an examination of how continued exploration and development of oil can possibly be compatible with the UK’s 2050 net zero emissions targets.



Hunkering down after COP26? Please send us evidence to the contrary!


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