By Climate Emergency Manchester (@ClimateEmergMcr)
Climate Emergency Manchester has set up a new petition on Manchester City Council’s website.
Specifically it calls on the council to:
Establish a permanent “Climate and Environment Scrutiny Committee”, of equal standing to the existing 6 scrutiny committees
Make strenuous efforts to secure additional funding for climate action, including the use of some of its strategic reserves.
The target is to get 4000 signatures from people who live, work or study within Manchester City Council’s boundaries – from Higher Blackley in the north to Woodhouse Park in the south and everywhere else in between. After 2 weeks 150 have signed online online and around 250 on paper - meaning the campaign is almost one tenth of the way to its target).
Four thousand signatures triggers a debate in Full Council. At the end of the debate, councillors vote: if we get more than half the 96 councillors to say yes, the Council will have to do as citizens have asked.
Climate Emergency Manchester (CEM) is an independent and non-party political group established early last year. Its first petition was for the Council to declare a climate emergency (it did, in July 2019) and for it to bring the target date for zero carbon forward to 2030 (it didn’t) and to include Manchester Airport’s aviation emissions in its budget for the city (it didn’t).
CEM’s main claim to fame so far has the Hung Drawn and Quarterly reports – released on the 3 and 6 month anniversaries of the Climate Emergency declaration. These are based on Freedom of Information Act requests to the council, which they are legally obliged to answer with facts. These facts are, awkwardly, rather different to the Council’s ever-sunny press releases. Recently CEM produced a 32 page “Manchester City Council and Climate Change for beginners”, which explains the Council’s structures (the different committees etc) and the 30 years of nice talk about sustainability and climate change.
The petition is a major piece of CEM’s work in the short term, because more scrutiny of the City Council’s promises and (in)actions is desperately needed.
The goal is to get the 4000 almost as quickly as possible to
a) raise morale
b) send a strong signal to the Council that citizens want real action and visible change instead of more PR
c) be able to get on with other network-building activities
“Almost” though, because collecting 4000 at the Universities and in the Hulme- Chorlton-Didsbury triangle will lead to almost certain defeat in the debate at Full Council. Opponents of action – and they do exist - will deride the petition as one signed by over-educated lentil-eaters. And anyway, in the longer-term, only a much broader set of voices calling for real action can succeed.
How you can help
Obviously, if you are eligible, sign the petition (you have to register here – first, but it only takes two minutes.
Then, whether you are eligible or not, please SHARE the petition on your social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc), with your friends, family, anywhere there are people who can sign. If you work or study within Manchester City Council’s boundaries (UoM, RNCM, MMU yes, Salford University no), why not download a blank petition sheet, print it off and collect signatures (there’s a one page ‘how to’ sheet here.)
Most of all though, CEM wants invites – to come talk briefly to meetings, (unions, religious, tenants and residents etc) across the 32 wards of the city (and especially beyond that triangle...). CEM is also very happy to do longer workshops (interactive ones, not lectures in disguise).
If you have questions, suggestions or offers of time, skills or energy, please do get in touch, via @ClimateEmergMcr on Twitter, or email@example.com
Climate Emergency Manchester has created a petition calling on the City Council to respond to climate change with more democracy and more cash. Anyone who lives, works or studies within the boundaries of Manchester City Council can sign it here. In any case, please share it among your friends, family, acquaintances.
CEM works - and is keen to work with others - to ensure that Manchester's response to climate change is rapid, radical and does not harm the poorest in society. You can get involved via filling in this form.