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Climate Emergency Manchester rejects praise for council’s climate change action plan

  • Climate Emergency Manchester highlight discrepancies between what city council is claiming to achieve and its actions
  • Climate Emergency UK releases pilot of scoring UK councils’ climate action plans

Climate Emergency Manchester have denounced Manchester city council’s climate change plan as “greenwashing”.

Climate Emergency UK has hailed the council’s climate change plan as one of the best in the UK according to its scorecards.

The Manchester action group have relayed to the UK-wide eco group that the council have already "burnt through" a whopping 40% of their carbon budget, meaning that if the council are sincere about reducing their carbon budget by 2038, they would have to reduce it by 16% each year.

They have also been quick to highlight the fact that the glowing scorecard and the council’s quick response to it are a potential opportunity to spin the truth about this matter as well as cover it up.

In their damning of the council’s plan, the Climate Emergency Manchester raised the “misleading” video released by the council about climate action in Manchester and make their own satirical version of the video calling out where the council are not telling the truth.

For example, the council’s video proudly states that in 2019, they “became one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate emergency, underlining the urgency of the task.” The Manchester’s version dubs over the original version playing the role of the council, stating that “in 2019, [the council] became one of the last core cities to declare a climate emergency because [they] were forced into it by them and local activists.”

According to Manchester City Council, one action to combat climate change shall be “decarbonising public buildings through the use of solar energy”.

Solar energy through the use of solar panels have come under criticism for being unsustainable due to their disposal process. Belinda Carr, a building scientist whose video on shipping container home scams went viral, released a video entitled ‘The hypocrisy of being GREEN’, in which she contends that solar panels “are made of a toxic cocktail like gallium arsenide, crystalline silicon, lead, cadmium, etc. They should not be disposed of in landfills because the modules can break down and leach these toxic materials into the soil.”

NQ reached out to the council for clarification on their solar panel scheme. They replied, “The solar PV we are installing has an expected lifespan of between 20 and 25 years. As these approach end of life from 2040 onwards, options for disposal in line with current legislation will be considered. Recycling of solar PV is possible today and by the time our installations are end of life this is expected to be commonplace.”

Regarding why the solar farms shall be built in the south of England as opposed to Greater Manchester, the council said: “We require a site which will produce sufficient solar power – 45 to 50MW – to enable us to meet our target of saving 7,000 tonnes of carbon by 2025 and ensure we have enough residual capacity for future energy needs.

“There are higher levels of irradiance (a combination of sunlight hours and the strength of that sunlight) in the south of England. As the capital cost of the solar farm is more or less the same regardless of location, schemes in southern England represent a better return on investment by delivering more carbon savings for less cost. You would need a bigger and more expensive scheme in the north to get the same amount of energy.”

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