Manchester needs to up its game if it is to meet its net zero carbon goals. Credit: PNW

Manchester failing to meet carbon reduction targets 

Urgent action is required if the city is to get back on track and achieve its aim of being net zero carbon by 2038, according to a report by the Manchester Climate Change Agency. 

The report states that Manchester has not done enough over recent years to reduce its carbon emissions in line with goals set out in Manchester’s Climate Change Framework. 

Two years ago, it was predicted the city would have to reduce its emissions by 13% every year up to 2038 if it was going to hit its target. 

This figure has now been revised to 16% annually. 

“None of us can ignore the fact that, based on the current trajectory, Manchester is not on track to meet the city’s target of becoming zero carbon by 2038,” said Tracey Rawlins, executive member for environment at Manchester City Council. 

“It’s not too late to get back on track but it will take a huge collective push.” 

The report has outlined action required to halve direct emissions by 2025, the first milestone within the city’s climate change framework. 

These steps include a focus on the built environment. 

Buildings in Manchester account for 64% of the city’s direct emissions. Modelling suggests that £1.2bn of investment will be required to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from the city’s buildings. 

If targets are to be met, there would need to be a 61% reduction in energy demand from commercial premises, a 45% reduction from institutional buildings like schools and hospitals and a 58% reduction from industrial buildings and processes. 

In addition, 84,000 Manchester homes will need to be retrofitted and all new homes would need to meet Passivhaus standard. 

Rawlins called on government to support local authorities on their retrofitting agendas. 

“We need government to prove that they are taking tackling climate change as seriously as we are by putting in place policies which enable and drive forward action,” she said. 

“Funding to retrofit residential properties to make them more energy efficient would help people with the cost of living crisis as well as supporting climate action.” 

The latest modelling suggests there will need to be a 30% reduction in the overall distance travelled in cars if the city is to have any chance of meeting its climate goals. 

“These are challenging targets but the rewards for the city will be great,” said Mike Wilton, chair of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership. 

 “The heatwave this summer and the storms and floods earlier this year show how a changing climate is impacting people’s lives in Manchester and around the world. But addressing climate change is more than just about climate. Success in achieving this plan helps create a healthy, green, socially just Manchester where everyone can thrive.”
Manchester City Council’s scrutiny committee is being invited to comment on the updated data before a revised version of the climate change framework is published in September. 

Your Comments

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Easy, stop building things, reduce the number of people coming into th city, Preston needs more people

By Cal

Look at our beautiful world famous skyline with so many iconic buildings


Well, stop planning estates which bed in car dependency, and start implementing zero car/blue badge only residential schemes in the city centre. Stop widening roads. Stop dragging heels over cycling schemes. Start forcing minimum densities around Metrolink/rail stations. Stop pandering to motorists on EVERY. SINGLE. DECISION.

The council has been told on multiple occasions what it needs to do to hit its own climate goals. I’m hopeful now that new leadership is in place common sense will start to prevail.

By Anonymous

Only a lunatic thinks that 2038 is a sensible target- how about we just let technology and natural improvements take their course without local or national governments interfering with things that have no hope or need to achieve

By Stuart wood

What an utter nonsense- get in with creating real value – lowering taxes on business and commuters and sorting out a chronic pension and social care issues

By Stuart wood

How does Manchester compare to other cities ?

By Anonymous

What world famous skyline? And which iconic buildings are you refering to Mc?

By John

Stuart, I agree that technology is a major part of the answer to addressing climate change but the private sector will not develop new technologies without national and local government setting targets or imposing penalties. The motor industry, for example, would not be phasing out diesel vehicles without government intervention.

By Monty

I would be interested to see Manchester lead the country and trial annual public reporting of energy use (metered readings per unit area) mandated for all non-domestic property. This is a very easy thing to report as the areas and meter readings are already available and it would encourage market forces to further promote assests that use less.
Combine this with mandatory public reporting of embodied carbon assessments at key property lifecycle stages and the market/industry/council would be in a much better position to rationally include energy performance and carbon impact in daily decision making.
If you want to manage it, it helps to measure it.

By Interested

“Some storms and some hot weather affected Manchester last year and we’ve never seen this before ever…..Ever”…hmmmm.

By Anonymous

A random target date plucked out of thin air with no underlying thought as to how it could or should be achieved. Some of the ideas above will just add further layers of cost and bureaucracy onto an already struggling private sector that is needed to produce the revenue on which the city survives

By Anonymous

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