All three Deansgate Councillors voted in favour of a motion declaring a Climate Emergency at Manchester City Council’s meeting of the Full Council on 10th July 2019.
The motion, which called for embedding the issue as an integral part of council decision-making – making sure decisions are taken with the city’s target of becoming zero-carbon as soon as possible, and looking to make Manchester City Council achieve its targets faster.
Both Cllrs Marcus Johns and William Jeavons signed the motion, and Marcus gave a speech at Council on the opportunities of decarbonisation, calling for a Green New Deal.
Once the video stream is available, we will be publishing the video here.
Cllr Marcus Johns’ full speech was:
Climate degradation is going to destroy our planet and the livelihoods of billions of people if we do not act now.
We have heard that from our speakers this morning, including our excellent guests Ishaa and Hannah. It leaps out at us from all the evidence.
There is a climate emergency and we must respond to it.
Climate degradation is not a single issue—it is about fundamental change to our relationship with our planet, our economic system and our way of life.
And in that change there is opportunity. Because dealing with this climate emergency requires for example green energy production to provide electricity, green transport systems to move about, and even green homes to live in.
The scale of the change required will need a green economy, a green industrial revolution—a green new deal.
There are opportunities in the coming green economy for thousands of new jobs for the people who need them in Manchester.
These green jobs can help people who have been frozen out and are struggling in the carbonised economy of today, providing them with sustainable, secure, well-paid employment.
But a fair or just transition into a decarbonised economy where the link between carbon emissions and economic growth is permanently broken and all citizens benefit will only be possible if we put in the work.
From our developing Industrial Strategy to a stronger skills system—we must respond to this climate emergency in full and ensure our transition to a decarbonised economy benefits all our people.
Like this motion states, we need to work with training providers to ensure our residents can embrace these jobs, we need to green supply chains, and we need to ensure investment is funnelled into the green economy which we can start by divesting the Greater Manchester Pension Fund from fossil fuels.
We must ensure that not only do we transition into a decarbonised economy to save our planet, but we use such a transition to help our people thrive.
And it isn’t just the economy where decarbonising has wider benefits for our people, Lord Mayor.
To give just one example.
1,000s of children are growing up in homes that are damp, mouldy and too cold in Manchester, whilst over 30,000 homes are considered to be in fuel poverty.
Part of our transition will include retrofitting homes with better insulation and even microgeneration of energy, which will help decarbonise our homes, yes,—but also will help to end fuel poverty by reducing the cost of heating ones’ home, stopping damp, mouldy, cold homes and potentially saving lives and our NHS from the health effects of poor quality housing.
All objectives we want to achieve as a city.
And it is not housing alone where our response to this climate emergency can improve the lives of our people.
Because as I said at the start, there is a climate emergency, but it is not a single issue, it is about fundamentally changing our relationship with our planet and our climate. In these changes, there are economic opportunities for Manchester people—often those struggling today—and our response can help solve wider issues facing our city and our society too. This motion is a part of the work to get us there to a better future.