Occasional Editorial

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Occasional comments on items in the news

So Manchester is to be a pilot City Region with increased autonomy.

This development could be very positive for the kind of regional development we are promoting here, despite being couched in terms of the role of the city regions as drives of national economic growth. It is not fully ‘in the bag’ though and we all need to press for that real local autonomy to reverse the years of devastation of the powers of local government to take more control of the economic destiny of their area.

Already local leaders recognise that maybe the Greater Manchester footprint is not sufficient and we agree with this in that a sustainable region dictates a bioregional rather than conurbation scale – for example if issues of reliability in supply of food and energy are to be taken seriously. In this, and in calling for real devolution, we are with them, but an economic strategy that continues to fetishise economic growth and global competitivenesses (as does the Manchester Independent Economic Review – the ground work for the City Region proposal) is not going to deliver a future in which we live harmoniously and well within the limits that the ecosystem dictates.
AGMA could use the opportunity of the pilot city region to announce the following:

  1. A commitment to sharing power and resources between the AGMA authorities.
  2. An invitation for authorities elsewhere in the Manchester-Mersey bioregion to affiliate to the project.
  3. The intention to develop a regional food strategy that would comprise a food security plan and a carbon reduction plan, massively reducing dependence on outsourced foodstuffs.
  4. The commitment to a bioregional energy plan which would include the development of new sustainable energy sources, massively improve energy efficiency through insulation and investment in public transport, and targets for overall, year on year reductions in energy usage.
  5. Real commitment to a programme of popular participation in the process – not like the half-baked pseudo-democracy of the TIF referendum, but where the people are properly informed about the scale and implications of the climate and energy crises and the kind of radical actions needed to address them.

Then we would know that use of the words sustainability and climate change by our leaders really does mean a root and branch approach to real sustainable living.

GreenDealManchester 17 May 09

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New paper on the economy posted

We need a new model of economic development.

There is a striking consensus about the nature of the economic development that is needed in the UK. The main political parties, business, the unions and most economic commentators share two basic assumptions.

  1. That economic growth must continue, year on year.
  2. That success depends on being competitive in the global economy.

I am going to dispute those assumptions and then suggest some different ways of thinking about economic development.

read the full paper…

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Climate crunch
Oscar Reyes Red Pepper, 29 March 2009

The economic crisis is leading to falling carbon emissions – so why is it not good for the climate? A useful short review of the relations between recession and climate change.

posted 4 April 2009

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The G20 summit

Climate change the biggest loser of G20 summit, warn environmental groups / G20 forgets the environment / Perfect storm of environmental and economic collapse closer than you think

“We always knew that at such events stupidity takes first place” William Tell

posted 3 April 2009

also see http://www.climaticoanalysis.org/post/what-did-the-g20-achieve-for-climate-change/ for a useful summary

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From the Guardian:

Miliband announces green makeover for every home in Britain by 2030

Minister unveils ‘great British refurb’ to cut household emissions one-third by 2020 with insulation and low-carbon technologies

Does Mr Milliband have any idea of the scale of the problem? A third of emissions? 12 years is 144 months – some think 100 months is all we have to take substantial action (and some think it’s already a question of mitigation rather than prevention). Too little too late (as usual, we are afraid). Or maybe Whitehall is a different (not particularly finite) planet…….

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