Mayor’s Green Summit – an Anthesis View

March 28, 2018 | Insights,

What combination of interventions by Greater Manchester that will achieve its carbon reduction aims?

Last week’s Greater Manchester Green Summit was a huge moment not only for the region, but perhaps also for many other cities engaged in the quest to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Anthesis’ Jono Adams was there.

On Wednesday 21 March, the mayor of Greater Manchester, 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 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. He 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 its 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 the reduction trajectory will be.

In other words, what will be the key combination of interventions by Greater Manchester that will achieve its carbon reduction aims?

This was explored at the summit using a new tool, called SCATTER, which stands for Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction. The tool 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 outputs uponwhich to make key policy decisions. It is now up to local authority leaders to take this and drive it into new policy.

Graph from SCATTER carbon reduction tool

What is SCATTER?

SCATTER uses a city-focused low carbon pathway model. It supports cities, regions and smaller communities such as boroughs across the UK to set emission reduction targets and define appropriate pathways to achieve them.

The model recognises 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 standardise their greenhouse gas reporting and align it with internationally accepted standards, ensuring consistency with the requirement of the Compact of the Mayors.

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 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.

If you would like to know more about SCATTER, whether you are a policymaker, city-region or even a corporate entity, please get in touch.

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