Platform. The everyday portal for sharing knowledge and intelligence on sustainability across Greater Manchester.

The Manchester: A Certain Future report for 2014

Over the past two decades the scientific community has gathered a growing body of irrefutable evidence that climate change is occurring on a global scale, brought about by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of human behaviour.

The international community has recognised the significance of this evidence by adopting a series of treaties and accords aimed at reducing global carbon emissions. The 1992 Rio Earth Summit saw the agreement of the first international treaty on climate change. Since 1995, the international community has met every year to ensure its commitments are being met. And while national governments continue to work together, progress has been difficult and only partial agreements have been reached. This has led growing numbers of scientists, commentators and the concerned public at large to suggest that international agreements are not developing at the rate and depth needed if global climate change is to be properly addressed.

This was the backdrop to the original MACF document in 2009, ahead of enthusiasm about a new international agreement being struck. However, while this – and other Conferences of the Parties since – have not been able to reach the level of agreement needed, there has been growing consensus about the critical importance of, and potential for, action by cities. To date, 5,293 European cities, home to over 185 million residents, have made voluntary commitments to take action on climate change; the C40 network of global megacities continues to make exciting leaps towards sustainable urban development; and in the UK the English Core Cities Group recently made its latest proposition to the Government on how they can work together to support local and national climate change goals.

Cities with the understanding of the issues and the ability for action cannot stand by and wait.

This is not to say that international and national agreements and policies are not important – they have the ability to drive the action that we need to see around the world and to reduce the carbon generated by national energy systems. But while this work edges slowly forward, the cities with the understanding of the issues and the ability for action cannot stand by and wait.

Manchester: A Certain Future is the city’s recognition and understanding of climate change. It’s a commitment to make a collective effort to respond in the only way Manchester knows – with passion, commitment, and in a way that enables everyone to participate. Working to drive and enable this collective response is the MACF Steering Group, sitting at the heart of a growing city-wide network of action on climate change.

Now, for the first time since it was established in 2010, the MACF Steering Group is publishing an Annual Report.

This details the work it has been carrying out during the last year and, perhaps more significantly, reports on the progress the city is making against the MACF 2013 Update.

The publication of this report comes at an interesting time for the city, the UK and the global community. This year has seen the publication of the final part of the IPCC’s fourth Assessment Report on climate change – the report effectively concluding that climate change is real, is happening, and is irreversible. Manchester, like other cities across the world, must adapt to the changing climate. Through the actions of governments, cities and individuals around the world the effects of climate change could be transformed – if we act now.

The timing of this report is also pertinent as the UK Government has adjusted its energy policy to promote fracking and disincentivise onshore renewable technologies. At the same time it’s promising to ‘do everything it takes’ to address the issue of flooding in the areas of the country recently affected, something that many climate scientists, including the Met Office chief scientist, are attributing to modifications in weather patterns caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Against this backdrop Manchester remains committed to action on climate change. This report provides – for the first time – a description of progress on these commitments and what more the city needs to do. Part 1 describes the activities of the MACF Steering Group during 2013, including some significant changes to better enable it to drive and support climate activity across the city. Part 2 is a full review of the city’s progress against MACF, objective-by-objective, theme-by- theme. And finally Part 3 looks to 2014 and the actions that the Steering Group and the city as a whole will need to deliver in the coming 12 months to ensure we are on target to achieve our 2020 goals.

Please click here to provide feedback.

Image above of Gavin Elliot, Chair of MACF Steering Group courtesy of Andy Haslam

MACF 2014 Report.pdf [PDF, 2.43Mb]