Pupils from Manchester schools are coming together for a special summit, to have their concerns heard on climate change and learn about what they can do to help the city become zero-carbon by 2038.
Believed to be the first event of its kind in the UK, the Young People’s Climate Action Summit, being held at the Whitworth on Friday 12 July, will give children aged 9 - 14 the opportunity to express their views on how climate change should be tackled, explore its causes and challenge local politicians on the actions they are taking to ensure that the city meets its ambitious 2038 zero-carbon target.
The Summit, which has been organised with support from the Manchester Climate Change Agency and Manchester City Council, will allow young people to learn more about what they and their schools can do to support the city’s climate change action plan. All schools in the city have been invited to send a group of pupils to represent them at the event.
At the event, pupils will explore how the heating and lighting of homes, transport choices and food and goods consumption all impact on carbon emissions, before a question and answer session with executive members of Manchester City Council and representatives of the Climate Change Agency.
In November 2018, Manchester City Council adopted ambitious new climate change targets for the city:
To only emit 15 million tonnes of CO2 between 2018 and 2100, our ‘carbon budget’
To reduce CO2 emissions by 13% every year, starting in 2018
To become a zero carbon city by 2038
These targets were developed by climate change experts at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based at the University of Manchester, and set out what Manchester needs to do to play its full part in a global effort to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.
Work is now underway to produce a ‘Manchester Zero Carbon Framework for 2020-38’, to provide a structure that will enable the Council, residents, businesses, schools, public sector, charities and national government to 'plug-in' their own commitments. Manchester Climate Change Agency will be working with groups and organisations from July to December 2019 to enable as many possible to have their climate change commitments included in the city's plans.
A motion asking Manchester City Council to formally declare a ‘climate emergency’ was unanimously agreed on Wednesday 10 July. The motion declares that climate change is a serious risk to Manchester’s future and commits the council to embedding the issue as an integral part of its decision-making - making sure that all key decisions are taken with the city’s target of becoming zero-carbon by 2038 in mind.
Ash Farrar, who will be compering the youth summit, said: "I'm very much looking forward to Manchester's first Youth Climate Action summit. I want to hear all about the great environmental initiatives this city has and, most importantly, how young people can get involved, support and accelerate them."
Ishaa Asim, a member of Manchester Youth Council and Member of Youth Parliament for Manchester, will be speaking at the Youth Summit.
Ishaa said: “Young people are leading the pollution solution revolution and Manchester Youth Council is leading the way to make our environment cleaner and greener.
"We believe that by working together with our elected members and leaders, young people can influence changes and develop strategies to help Manchester citizens learn more about how they can play their part in helping our city play a leading role in tackling climate change."
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “We know just how concerned our young people are about climate change and we share their desire to take urgent action which will make a genuine difference for the future of Manchester. We are listening to them and we have the same aspirations, which is why we are supporting this summit, where we will hear their voices loud and clear.
“I expect some tough questions, but I know that there will be great suggestions from the pupils, which will change and refresh the way we all think about this vital issue.”
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “The council has agreed to an ambitious zero-carbon commitment on behalf of the whole city and is supporting the Manchester Climate Change Agency, as they develop a plan to ensure we reach our goal. However, we cannot do it on our own and need everyone to be on board.
"We want young people to be at the heart of this mission, helping to define the city and the future they want to see and playing their part in making it a reality.
"Manchester has a proud tradition of being a radical city and a catalyst for social change, so it is fitting that the next generation are determined to build on that legacy, by leading the way on what is the defining issue of our time."
Jonny Sadler, Programme Director of Manchester Climate Change Agency, said: "The choices we make every day as citizens, politicians and business leaders determine whether or not we will stay within our 15m tonne carbon budget and create the thriving zero-carbon city we all want. We need Manchester's young people both to play their part and also to hold others to account and make sure they are playing theirs. The Summit is a great opportunity to help make this happen - I hope it will be the first of many."