​Manchester's Climate Change Action Plan

The city's first major climate change action plan, Manchester a Certain Future, is now over ten years old, and an obvious question now is, what impact has it had? The target then, supported by evidence from the Tyndall Centre, was to be zero carbon by 2050, with a 41% reduction in emissions by 2020. The City Council exceeded its own share of that target, and although the city as a whole didn't, much of that was down to the failures of central government in decarbonising our powers supplies. There have been exciting new initiatives, not least the development of carbon literacy, but the facts are that though we haven't done badly, it's not been good enough.

That's why in 2018, again on the basis of the science, we adopted a carbon budgeting approach and a 2038 zero carbon target, and in 2019, joined with most other Councils in declaring a climate emergency. We also asked the Tyndall Centre to further revisit the targets and this has led to our current position - a budget for the rest of this century of 15m tonnes of carbon and a need to reduce current emissions by 50% in the next five years.

There is nowhere near enough space to set out here what we have been doing and what we and our partners are planning to do. For those who want the detail of past action, a number of reports have gone to successive Executive meetings, in particular to the meeting in December. Looking to the future, for the Council itself, at last week's Council budget meeting, our Executive Member for Finance set out extensive proposals for investment to further reduce our emissions. This week, at the Council's Executive, we increased the budget even further, as we agreed our five year climate change action plan.

At the same meeting we also endorsed the Climate Change Partnership's five year framework for action and a call to every individual and organisation in the city to join the partnership and to develop their own five year 50% reduction plan. This won't be achieved by shaming. We need to take people with us and convince them that a zero carbon city will not only be cleaner and greener but one that offers all our citizens a better quality of life. 


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