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Manchester’s 2038 zero carbon target could ‘transform city economically’

A newly adopted target for Manchester to become a zero carbon city 12 years earlier could “transform the area economically”.

Manchester will now work to achieve the goal by 2038 after the city council’s executive agreed proposals by the city’s climate change board, in line with research carried out by the University of Manchester-based Tyndall Centre for Climate Change.

Under the plan, Manchester will adopt a science-based ‘carbon budget’, capping total emissions at 15 million tonnes from 2018 to 2100.

The city will also commit to a 13% year-on-year reduction in emissions from 2018 onwards, enabling it to become zero carbon by 2018 rather than the previous goal of 2050.

With Manchester City Council believed to be the first UK local authority to make such a commitment, Gavin Elliott, chair of the Manchester Climate Change Board, says: “As chair of the Manchester Climate Change Board, I applaud Manchester’s leaders for taking this bold step to commit to reducing Manchester’s carbon emissions in line with the science based targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. This places Manchester at the very forefront of world cities leading on this issue, and creates a massive opportunity to transform the city both environmentally, socially and economically.

“We’re very proud of the role the Climate Change Agency has played in helping the city to arrive at this point, and look forward to working with all stakeholders across the city to help them grasp this incredible opportunity, to the benefit of both our and future generations.”

A report by the Tyndall Centre suggests all sectors in the city will need to greatly reduce carbon emissions if the target is to be achieved and highlights the council’s leadership role in working with businesses to help them become more energy efficient.

Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, planning and transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, says: “The new target for Manchester to be a zero carbon city by 2038 is challenging, but it is clear that going further is necessary if we are to play our full part in limiting the future impacts of climate change.

“A zero carbon city will have many benefits for our citizens, not least enhanced air quality, better public transport networks, lower energy bills and future job opportunities in the growing low-carbon energy sector.

“However, the council cannot do this on its own.  We will all need to play our part in reducing Manchester’s carbon emissions – and will all share in the benefits of a healthier city when our goal is met.”

Manchester Climate Change Board will now develop a draft action plan by March 2019, ahead of producing a final plan by 2020 to outline how the city can stay within its carbon budget.