As global leaders meet at COP27 to discuss climate global action, Cllr Bev Craig, has written an open letter to the PM, Rishi Sunak to discuss the role cities can play in addressing the urgent challenge of climate change and what the Government needs to do to support it.
The letter reads:
Dear Prime Minister,
It was good to meet you briefly at the King’s reception at Buckingham Palace ahead of the COP27 summit. As we discussed, I was there to champion the important role that cities can play in addressing the urgent challenge of climate change.
In the face of other pressing issues facing the UK, especially the cost of living crisis, we must not lose sight of the critical importance of tackling climate change and the contribution that actions to do so can make towards building a more just society. On behalf of Manchester we have some urgent requests for the Government to support cities such as ours in taking meaningful action to reach net zero carbon.
Manchester, and Greater Manchester, have committed to an ambitious target of becoming net zero carbon by 2038 at the latest – 12 years ahead of the UK target of 2050. In Manchester, guided by climate experts, we have gone further and set a science-based carbon budget for our city – an overall amount of emissions we must stay within in order to play our full part in limiting climate change.
These are tough targets. Manchester as a whole is not currently on track to achieve them and we know it will take a monumental effort to get back on course, something we are determined to do. But the city has a clear target and we are rightly held accountable for it. Yet if Manchester succeeds in becoming net zero by 2038 how much difference will it make if the UK as a whole is still working to a 2050 target? And if we’re battling to stay within our calculated budget, what must the emissions picture be like for places up and down the land which don’t even have one?
We’re calling for Government to get serious and bring forward the national target to become net zero to 2038 or earlier, following Manchester’s example, and to produce a carbon budget for the UK as a whole.
We also call for more Government support to retrofit domestic properties. Making our homes more energy efficient would be a triple win – saving hard-pressed people money on their fuel bills, cutting carbon emissions and creating new jobs in the green economy. We’re doing what we can at a local level but need the funds, or access to finance, to increase the pace and scale.
Manchester has recently made many practical suggestions to Government through the current Net Zero Review. We have called for active support to unlock public and private green finance to fund essential works that will reduce carbon emissions, tackle climate change and enable cities, and the country as a whole, to be more climate resilient. Climate finance is one of the key areas of discussions at COP27 and we would urge you as Prime Minister to lobby for radical global action to work with the likes of UK100 and the Core Cities group to deliver new resources to tackle the climate emergency – nationally and locally.
If your Government is in earnest about delivering on the many climate pledges made by the UK – and as a city we would be eager to play our full part in achieving this – then a step change in ambition is required. I would urge you to seize this moment.
Councillor Bev Craig,
Leader of Manchester City Council