Greater Manchester has committed to a 48% CO2-emission reduction by 2020. What actions has the local authority undertaken to reach this target and what are the results so far?
"I’m pleased that in Greater Manchester, based on the latest data we have, our emissions reduced by around 3% between 2012 and 2013.
We are working towards our ambitious target by delivering a range of carbon reduction projects. These range from improving energy efficiency in public and domestic buildings, over 23,000 roof installations of solar technology on buildings, converting our domestic waste to energy, generating over 31MWe, and low carbon improvements to our public transport network. We have utilized a number of different funds to support this work. We have made investments ourselves but have also secured UK, EU and international funding, including successful ELENA, Horizon 2020 and INTERREG funded projects*. We have a firm track record of delivery when it comes to reducing emissions and hope to attract additional funds in the future to continue this work.
Looking to the future, we are also trailing an energy aggregation and demand-side response project with Japan’s New Energy and Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) across three [Greater Manchester] districts improving 600 homes. At this scale, we believe this to be a global pilot of this technology.
We also encourage other organisations and individuals to realise the financial and efficiency savings that can be made through being more environmentally sustainable. This is done through our Green Growth Pledge scheme and by supporting the roll out of Carbon Literacy training."
Greater Manchester created the Low Carbon Hub to deliver its transition to a low-carbon economy. Can you tell us more about that hub?
"The Low Carbon Hub Board is responsible, on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), for developing and putting in place the delivery arrangements for Greater Manchester’s Climate Change Strategy and other environmental priorities. The Hub has a diverse and strong membership of public, commercial, academic and citizen led organisations who advise and help to influence and promote environmental sustainability to a wider audience. Together we are investing in green growth in the region for the benefit of our businesses and communities, now and in the future. The development of the Low Carbon Hub integrates the delivery of multiple carbon-reduction measures and represents a shift from strategy development to prioritized delivery.
The Greater Manchester City Deal, agreed with Government in March 2012, included ‘low carbon’ as a priority focusing on three key areas: developing the Hub as a center of excellence; establishing an investment vehicle to finance low-carbon infrastructure projects and developing a memorandum of understanding between Greater Manchester and key UK Government departments to deliver our shared priorities. A low-carbon, well adapted economy will make Greater Manchester more resilient to future changes, more competitive in the increasingly global marketplace and reinforce the region as a leader in innovation."
GMCA recently committed to the new targets of Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. What does it mean for you as the Mayor of a local authority engaged in climate change mitigation and adaptation?
"As Mayor of Greater Manchester I feel a personal responsibility to ensure that our region is less polluted and prepared for future climate changes. By integrating direct action, that mitigates climate change into all our top level plans and strategies, we can influence the way our economy and residents go about their everyday lives. We want to create an innovation revolution with the latest technology that lets everyone tackle this critical issue. That is something our forefathers, the creators of the first industrial revolution, would be proud of.
Being a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors allows global goals and agreements to be implemented where they really count, at the community level. COP 21 emphasised the role cities and local authorities can play, accelerating action and mobilising resources and local stakeholders effectively. The recent UNFCC agreement at COP is momentous, but it is our responsibility as authorities, organisations and individuals to take action and not assume that member states and world leaders will do this for us.
In the spring, we will launch our second Greater Manchester Climate Change and Low Emissions Implementation plan. This will set out our priorities to 2020 and we want to work with, and learn from, other Covenant of Mayors signatories to deliver these."
*Find more information on the EU funding programmes in the Covenant of Mayors Quick Reference Guide.