The world’s eyes are on Glasgow right now, with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) meeting between the 31st of October to 12th of September. Despite being the most important climate change conference since the Paris Agreement in 2015, the United Kingdom’s response to climate catastrophe has been panned by climate activists – Greta Thunberg has criticised the Tories’ words as just “blah, blah, blah”.
For years, our priority at Manchester Labour has been to tackle the climate catastrophe head on, being proactive in our approach to solve the world’s biggest threat. We’re using COP26 to highlight some of the groundbreaking changes happening in Manchester at the moment that other cities can model after. But it’s clear that we need to go further, and that we need support from national government to do so – not just empty promises.
Our councillors are at COP26 representing Manchester and our plans for the future. Our Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Tracey Rawlins, has been in Glasgow to sign the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration at Glasgow City Chambers. The declaration acknowledges the role of food production, delivery and consumption in producing emissions.
In Manchester, we have a multi-agency Food Board which looks at reducing emissions in food systems, as well as tackling other related issues such as healthy eating, poverty and obesity, and this was discussed at COP26. The Declaration calls on national governments to look at these issues as well. www.glasgowdeclaration.org
Manchester Labour councillors have also signed the Edinburgh declaration, a commitment to tackling the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss by integrating nature-based solutions into city planning. Details on the declaration can be found at www.gov.scot/publications/edinburgh-declaration-on-post-2020-biodiversity-framework
One of the Council’s 27 recently-purchased electric bin lorries, operated by waste and recycling contractor Biffa, has been on display to highlight the carbon savings possible through councils electrifying their vehicles. Manchester City Council is believed to have the highest proportion of electric bin lorries of any major council in the country.
We’ve been campaigning at home as well, with many Manchester Labour members taking to the streets during the weekend’s Climate Change Demonstration in Manchester. All work done locally needs to be backed up with action from Westminster
Manchester will also be hosting its own COP26 ‘Green Zone’ event at Escape from Freight Island, Mayfield depot, on Tuesday 9 November. Power to the People: Enabling a Smart Energy Transition will examine the future for energy production and use in the North West.
Continuing to work
Manchester has set a target of becoming zero carbon by 2038 – 12 years ahead of the national target – and Manchester City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan has outlined how it will lead by example by reducing the Council’s own direct emissions by 50 per cent by 2025.
The Council has updated the Zero Carbon of its website detailing the work it is doing to cut its own direct carbon emissions as part of the city’s target to become zero carbon by 2038. To find out more, visit www.manchester/zerocarbon