Associate Director Jono Adams reflects on last week’s Greater Manchester Green Summit in what was a huge moment for the region, and perhaps many other cites, in the quest to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions and become green.
On Wednesday 21st March, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham fulfilled one of his election commitments, to facilitate a Green Summit with the aim of engaging on the details of making Greater Manchester, home to around 2.8 million people, one of the leading green cities in Europe. It received a lot of fanfare and it didn’t disappoint.
It was a very open forum allowing a varied audience to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the, much debated, second city of the UK. Even before we got into the meat of the day, the Mayor was clear that this was the start of the green journey during his tenure, albeit there had already been some 43 listening events in the build-up, and committed to another Summit later in the year.
A key part of the Summit was to discuss the Mayor’s challenge to Greater Manchester that a new carbon target should be set; one that is more ambitious than the national target, as moderated by the Committee on Climate Change. The Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester recently developed their view on a science-based target that aligns Greater Manchester with the Paris Agreement; ‘a top down’ approach to developing a target. The area also needs to apply a ‘bottom up’ approach to assess how it will achieve such a target and what will be the reduction trajectory.
In other words, what will be the key combination of interventions by Greater Manchester that will achieve its carbon reduction aims?
Image: Quantitative CO2 emissions of four modelled scenarios up to 2050 using SCATTER
This approach was explored at the Summit by application of a new tool, called SCATTER, which has been developed by Anthesis in collaboration with the Tyndall Centre, to specifically answer these challenges. Its pilot run has focused on Greater Manchester before being applied to other UK Core Cities. In fact, the application of this tool was explored extensively during the Plenary session by Councillor Alex Ganotis as well as during a drop-in breakout event. It has provided Greater Manchester with clarity obtained from robust, data-driven output to make key policy decisions. It is now up to Local Authority leaders to take this and drive it into new policy.
What is SCATTER?
SCATTER (Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction) is a tool comprising a UK city-focused low carbon pathway model. It supports cities, regions and even smaller communities such as boroughs across the UK to set emission reduction targets and define appropriate pathways to achieve them. The model recognizes the challenges that cities and regions have as they aim to report on their carbon footprint and develop carbon reduction targets. It provides city regions with the opportunity to standardize their greenhouse gas reporting aligning it with internationally accepted standards and ensuring consistency with the Compact of the Mayors requirements.
As the tool is rolled out to other Core Cities, they will have the opportunity to apply the tool for their own requirements. It aims to flexibly support in helping policy makers to have an informed and scientifically robust approach to developing achievable targets. And as part of that, it also allows them to develop their greenhouse gas inventory, which details the source and amount of emissions to the atmosphere in a given period, as well as report consistently against World Resources Institute protocols and Compact of Mayors requirements.
As I left Central Hall at the end of a packed day, I reflected on one of the take home messages of the day; that it is incumbent on everyone in the region to play a role in achieving Greater Manchester’s aims. The Summit concluded with a discussion between a politician, a footballer (Gary Neville, no less) and a Radio 1 DJ (Cel Spellman) on Green actions to take. Certainly, an example of looking for solutions from less than obvious character types…
A recap of the whole event, live streamed on BBC, can be viewed here - https://lnkd.in/gpxztHD