Coun­cil’s plan for us to be one of world’s clean­est cities

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Jen­nifer Wil­liams

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

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