Manchester Climate Change Conference 2019 - A Call To Action!
On Monday 8th July we welcomed a record number of approximately 200 attendees to the University of Manchester’s North Campus for our annual Climate Change Conference. People from across the city joined together to discuss climate change within Manchester, and over 20 organisations came to discuss how they were helping Manchester to achieve its zero carbon targets, and what their plans are for the future.
Lindsey Chapman opened the conference with an energetic and inspiring discussion about the need to act now. She highlighted the importance and power of the individual in making change, and the coming together of people across different organisations, cultures and beliefs to ensure change happens across the city.
Gavin Elliott, the Chair of Manchester Climate Change Board, took to the stage to discuss the positive work the Board has been doing over the past 12 months. He discussed the Board’s responsibility for overseeing and championing the delivery of Manchester’s Climate Change Strategy, and emphasised the importance of people taking urgent action.
Jonny Sadler, Programme Director of the Manchester Climate Change Agency then followed with an update from the Agency, as well as launching the Zero Carbon Manchester Annual Review 2019 (attached below), setting out Manchester’s city wide progress over the last 12 months. The key headlines he exposed from the year highlighted how Manchester was making progress; however this progress isn’t sufficient and isn’t happening quickly enough. He stated that in 2018 we hit a 2.5% reduction in carbon, compared to the 13% reduction we had set ourselves. Mirroring Lindsay’s passion, Jonny stressed the importance of acting now, and how the carbon budget we’ve set will effectively ‘run out’ by 2025 if we continue with today’s practise.
The presentations concluded with a short film showing the progress Manchester has been making over the past 12 months, and what the city’s plans are for the imminent future. (The video will be made available to watch on our website soon!). The presentations from the conference all clearly highlighted the need to work together and act quickly to help the future of Manchester.
The evening then broke out into a more informal opening-networking style event. 21 exhibitors had come from across the city to discuss what they were doing in response to climate change, and how to reduce the impact they were having. These organisations ranged from the food sector to the NHS, Universities, sport and beyond. Their aim was to share their information for action, both to members of the public and to other organisations. The relaxed, informal lay out of the event seemed extremely successful, as people engaged with different organisations, and were encouraged to interact with organisations outside of their norm, actively inspiring people to look at climate change from different angles and perspectives.
The evening was drawn to a close with a short discussion from Lindsey asking the public what they had learnt from the evening. A number of delegates took to the stage to discuss what they had learnt from other organisations, and how they could improve further themselves. Lindsey was excited to announce that Greater Manchester Community Renewables had reached their £100,000 target which will go towards funding solar panels for a further three schools across Greater Manchester this summer. A powerful final statement from Lindsey left the audience feeling passionate and driven about the future, ‘it’s more energetic and empowering to be for something than against something’. The power of the individual and the strengthening of communities across Manchester will be crucial in us all playing our full part against climate change, and driving our energy and passion towards reducing Manchester’s carbon footprint will build a greener future for everyone. Although it’s a big task to get to net zero emissions, attendees were optimistic, with the spirit of collaboration and innovation in Manchester, many left inspired to do more.