MCC staff carbon literacy rates drifting like a supertanker waiting to explode or be rescued by a rich oil drenched kingdom #fsosafer

Carbon literacy of elected members and MCC officers has been a perennial bee in the bonnet of a former member of CEM – Dr Marc Hudson – for almost a decade since the training was launched. A book or PhD could probably be written based just on the posts and FOI requests from Manchester Climate Monthly on the topic. The institutional resistance in the face of its public commitments on this topic are depressingly familiar for anyone who attempts to hold power to account. The endurance to keep up this level of scrutiny on one topic is staggering – no wonder MCFly regularly drifts into Greek mythology or Dr Who.

The slow rusting hulk of a potentially explosive abandoned tanker with around 1 million barrels of oil ironically called FSO Safer is very much a symbol of the legacy of Sir Richard Leese and the old guard of MCC senior leadership. Luckily an oil-rich kingdom has been so kind to front $10m of the $80m needed to transfer the oil off the rusting hulk and so the UN are still short of the full funding to avert a disaster that could be far worse than Exxon Valdez in 1989. Oh we should be ever so ‘umble…

FSO Safer oil tanker

In now a decade-long tradition of asking questions of MCC about what they’re doing on carbon literacy, a duo of FOIAs were sent recently. One focussed on the senior management group (unelected officers) and the other on the Strategic Communications Content and Strategy Team.

Whether the figures we received are accurate has been in question before. Apologies were issued after misleading information was given last year related to the comms team figures when MCC considered 11 out of a team of 50 the “majority”. Now that is a bold disingenuous claim. If MCC was a business and carbon literacy a product or service it sold, it would fall foul of the Competition and Markets Authority’s Green Claims Code with some serious reputational and financial consequences. But this is Manchester and we do things differently.

The most recent FOIAs found:

  • All of the senior leadership group (officers paid >£50k a year) are expected to have completed their carbon literacy training by the end of 2022. Many promises have been made on getting staff and members literate, we’re still looking to work out if they’ve kept these or whether they keep drifting. This time line managers are expected to follow up with any non-compliance…
  • Only 31 out of 96 councillors attended zero carbon manchester learning sessions held on two days in Jan 2022 – more information on who was in attendance was not disclosed citing GDPR.
  • 37 out of 55 team members of the Strategic Communications Content and Strategy Team have completed and received certificates for completing their carbon literacy training. A further 12 have completed both parts, but need to get certificates or complete their return forms. They can now legitimately claim the majority are carbon literate.
  • Remaining comms team members are expected to complete their training by end of August. Let’s see if summer holidays get blamed for that commitment drifting again.

The MCC Directorate league tables for incomplete carbon literacy training looks like this – quite stark that in the Manchester ‘year of the child’ that Children and Education services has the lowest rates of carbon literacy.

Is it really that difficult to get staff to do a one day training? The resource taken to respond to FOIAs over the past decade could have been devoted to actually delivering the training.

If you fancy learning / doing a new years day FOIA for us or on 1st September to keep tabs on the council our details haven’t changed

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