Manchester declares ‘Climate Emergency’ as Leeds bolsters net-zero preparations

Manchester City Council set its net-zero target in December 2018

The declaration was made at the Council’s full meeting on Thursday evening (11 July), following pressure from residents, local businesses and green campaign groups in the wake of the central Government’s ‘Climate Emergency’ declaration in May.

Manchester City Council’s document states that climate change and global heating are posing “serious risks to Manchester’s people” in the forms of “economic, social and environmental well-being and supply chains – including food security, financial systems and local weather, among many others”.

The document emphasises the work undertaken by the Council since its 2008 framework, ‘Principles of Tackling Climate Change in Manchester’, was introduced with an overarching aim of engaging people from all walks of life in climate discussions. Indeed, the framework paved the way for Manchester to set a 2038 net-zero target late last year.

However, following an amendment made at last night’s meeting, the declaration states that the Council will now assess the practicality of moving its target forward to 2030.

The declaration also pays homage to the university students, college students and school pupils to have taken part in recent SchoolStrikes4Climate across the city region, stating that this “upsurge of action” “exemplifies the radical traditions of which Manchester is proud”.

“Manchester has a proud tradition of being a radical city and a catalyst for social change, so it is fitting that the next generation are determined to build on that legacy, by leading the way on what is the defining issue of our time,” Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, planning and transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia said.

“The council has agreed to an ambitious zero-carbon commitment on behalf of the whole city and is supporting the Manchester Climate Change Agency, as they develop a plan to ensure we reach our goal.  However, we cannot do it on our own and need everyone to be on board.  

“We want young people to be at the heart of this mission, helping to define the city and the future they want to see and playing their part in making it a reality.”

Leading by example

The move from Manchester City Council comes in the same week that Leeds– another region with a 2038 net-zero target – launched a new ‘Climate Coalition’.

Convened by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the new body consists of business leaders, civil servants and schoolchildren.

Its aim is to get as many organisations from the public and private sector, as well as households and individuals, to pledge their support to the city region’s 2038 plans and to commit to making a “significant” impact by 2030.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s chair Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said the Coalition will “bring people from different parts of the City Region together as we fight for a cleaner, greener future where our children and their children can thrive”.

Cllr Hinchcliffe, who also serves as the leader of Bradford council, added that the Combined Authority has already engaged with more than 150 individuals and organisations on this cause to date.

Sarah George

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