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We must halve CO2 emissions by 2025, says Manchester

Net Zero

Andrew Forster
23 March 2020

Manchester’s carbon dioxide emissions will have to be halved by 2025 in order to stay within the council’s self-imposed carbon budget. Surface transport accounts for 32 per cent of all emissions in the city.  

The Labour-controlled council has set a budget for direct carbon dioxide emissions of 15 million tonnes for the period 2018 to 2100, based on advice from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University. The council says the figure is consistent with the Paris Agreement objective to keep global temperature increases to well below 2C, pursuing efforts for 1.5C. 

“At our current rate of carbon consumption (2.1 million tonnes per year in 2017) we will run out of budget in 2025,” says the council’s climate change framework. “In order to remain within our budget we will need to reduce our direct emissions by at least 50 per cent between 2020 and 2025.”

The council’s proposed five-yearly emission budgets are:

  • 6.9 million tonnes of tCO2 2018-22
  • 3.6 mtCO2 2023-27 
  • 1.95 mtCO2 2028-32 
  • 1.10 mtCO2 2033-37 
  • 0.64 mtCO2 2038-42 
  • 0.38 mtCO2 2043-47 
  • 0.59 mtCO2 2048-2100   

The above figures cover only direct emissions from homes, workplaces and surface transport. 

“If we overspend our budget at any point, that means we will have less CO2 remaining for future years,” says Manchester. “In order to address this we would need deeper cuts than the 13 per cent year-on-year reductions that are currently required (50 per cent during 2020-25).”

The budget excludes flights taken by Manchester residents, which in 2017 were estimated to amount to a further 0.2 MtCO2 as year (from all airports). 

Flights from Manchester Airport by non-Manchester residents emit a further 3.4 million tonnes. “We want the emissions from all flights from Manchester Airport to be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement,” says the council. “We believe this means operating within a limited carbon budget for UK aviation, as part of a wider international budget.”

A Tyndall report on aviation says: “To be consistent with the 15 million tonne carbon budget for Manchester's direct carbon dioxide emissions, UK aviation emissions need to stay below 1,200 million tonnes CO2 for the period 2020 to 2100. This is 37 per cent of the total Paris Agreement aligned UK carbon budget, a much larger allocation than for other sectors of the economy.

“A limited carbon budget of 6.6 million tonnes for carbon emissions from [Manchester] residents’ flights from all airports in the period 2020 to 2100 is proposed. Emissions are currently estimated to be 0.2 mtCO2 (2017 data) so the budget is equivalent to this remaining static between 2020 to 2030, then declining to zero by 2075.”

Manchester’s budget also ignores emissions from products consumed in the city but produced elsewhere. These are estimated to amount to a further 3.4 mtCO2 each year.

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