Climate change group in videos row with Manchester City Council over green action

The local authority insists it is on track to meet carbon-reduction targets but campaigners say it is nowhere near.

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A climate change group is in dispute with Manchester City Council after rival videos showing very different takes on the city’s green policies appeared.

The local authority this week produced a video about its work to become more environmentally-friendly.

Climate Emergency Manchester, though, described the short film as “deeply misleading” and has now produced a spoof version strongly criticising the town hall for a lack of action.

The group says the video misses out a number of key facts, but the council has stood by its claims on moving towards a greener future.

What is the row about?

Manchester City Council released a video on Monday (29 October) which outlined what the local authority is doing to help make the city zero-carbon by 2038.

The video said Manchester is taking “serious action” and will be reaching zero carbon 12 years of the Government’s target for the UK of 2050.

It also said that two years into its plan a lot has been achieved, including retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, investing in electric bin lorries and developing nature-based solutions to issues such as flooding.

However, the video failed to impress Climate Emergency Manchester.

The group has now released its own video, which uses the same images as the council’s but tells a very different narrative about the city’s attempt to become more ecologically-sound.

Climate Emergency Manchester raising awareness at GrubClimate Emergency Manchester raising awareness at Grub
Climate Emergency Manchester raising awareness at Grub

Set to a version of Europe’s song The Final Countdown, the video says the council offers poor leadership on the crisis.

It says city-wide carbon reduction targets have been missed, the extent of the city’s emissions have been omitted from the council’s video and the local authority remains “pro-aviation, pro growth”.

The video also contains criticism of many of the schemes and policies within the council’s film, saying some are not as environmentally-friendly as claimed and others are undermined by inconsistent and contradictory overall policies.

It also says that while the council may manage to reduce its emissions, as a whole the city of Manchester will have used up its entire allowance of carbon within the next few years.

What has Climate Emergency Manchester said?

Adam Peirce from Climate Emergency Manchester said: “We watched the council’s video in horror, but weren’t surprised that they aren’t willing to mention uncomfortable facts.

“Nowhere does it talk about how the city has burned six million tonnes of the 15 million tonnes of CO2 in the carbon budget for the entire 21st century that they got scientists to set in 2018.

Climate Emergency Manchester flyers and beer matsClimate Emergency Manchester flyers and beer mats
Climate Emergency Manchester flyers and beer mats

“Instead it diverts people by talking about small-scale projects funded by the EU and promises of things that might happen in the future.

“Real leadership is about telling the truth, whether it is convenient or not.

“Since the council refuses to tell the truth, we decided to make the video so people are better informed.”

What has Manchester City Council said?

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “We 100% stand by the film which highlights the huge amount of work which the council is doing to reduce our direct carbon emissions and the progress that we are making against our Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25.

“We are currently on track to achieve our target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2025.

“The film is about what the council is doing to reduce emissions which are within our direct control, rather than the citywide picture which Climate Emergency Manchester is conflating it with.

“We fully recognise that while the city as a whole has seen year-on-year reductions in its carbon emissions these have not yet been sufficient to say that Manchester is on the right trajectory to meet the citywide 2038 target.

“Achieving this will require organisations and individuals across Manchester to play their full part.”