Council’s plan for us to be one of world’s cleanest cities
MANCHESTER has signed up to one of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world as the city seeks to become ‘ zero-carbon’ in just 20 years.
In a groundbreaking pledge, the town hall now aims to ensure all energy used in Manchester is green by 2038 – a far more challenging target than other British cities and most across the globe.
It would effectively mean that all transport and fuel in the city would be renewable by that point, including through widespread electrification of cars and public transport.
Homes and businesses would need to switch to clean energy, buildings will have to be retrofitted to improve their insulation and more green space created.
The pledge does not include emissions from flights at Manchester Airport, which would need to be covered by separate national agreements, it is understood. But the plan has been welcomed by climate change activists across the country, with the council pointing out that achieving the goal would benefit the poorer and older people the most – those more likely to be living in fuel poverty in badly insulated houses or those at risk of flooding.
In recent years the stark effects of climate change have risen up the agenda both domestically and internationally, with flooding and moorland fires in Greater Manchester linked by experts to global warming and the more extreme weather events associated with it.
Manchester’s pledge, while yet to be outlined in detail, is now aimed at ensuring the city plays its part in the Paris climate change accord aimed at radically slowing down global warming. The city’s plans – which will be fleshed out next year – use calculations and projections from the Tyndall Centre at Manchester University and go beyond existing efforts to bring down the council’s own carbon emissions, which have been cut by a third since 2009.
They now bring forward Manchester’s ‘zero carbon’ target to 2038 from 2050, the goal for most other areas, including London, placing it in the top ten cities internationally for climate change goals. The town hall now aims to support schools, social housing providers, tenants, businesses and housing developers to take their own steps in ensuring the city stops relying on fossil fuels and becomes more energy efficient.
“The scale of the challenge is significant, but it is clear that a more ambitious target and delivery ●● plan is required for the city to play its full role in limiting the impact of climate change,” said a report tabled to the council’s executive.
Coun Angeliki Stogia, the executive member in charge of the environment, told the meeting that Manchester is ‘well placed’ to rise to the challenge, with more than 2,000 businesses across the conurbation already specifically focused on green energy and industries related to it.
There is almost an important ‘social justice’ element to the target, she said, adding that people on lower incomes and poorer people – particularly due to fuel poverty and poor housing – are ‘ d i s p ropor t i o nat e l y affected’ by climate change. “We need to stop thinking about climate change as a peripheral issue and bring it into mainstream thinking,” she added.
Proposals include the electrification of transport