Article published: Wednesday, November 17th 2010
A Manchester City Council meeting today committed to produce research into the possibilities for creating a ‘steady state’ economy for the city region as a response to the environmental and economic crises.
The decision was made by the Economy, Employment and Skills overview and scrutiny committee following a presentation on job creation in the low carbon economy made by the council’s head of environmental strategy, Richard Sharland.
‘Steady state’ economics involves a gradual planned transition away from economic growth towards balanced consumption of energy and resources and a greater focus upon quality of life and environmental sustainability as social priorities. It has been the subject of renewed interest in recent years due to concerns over climate change.
The decision came after proposals submitted to the meeting by Marc Hudson of Manchester Climate Fortnightly were backed by Liberal Democrat councillors. Opposition came from Labour councillor Hugh Barrett who attempted to discourage investigations into the issue, initially claiming that such research would be “strange” and “above our remit”, but an agreement was reached following the intervention of Moss Side councillor Roy Walters. Sharland’s presentation and the discussion following it had focused on ways in which Manchester could gain “first mover advantage” in the green economy through innovative economic strategies.
It is believed that today’s decision makes Manchester City Council the first local authority in the country to undertake such research.
David Cullen from Manchester Climate Action said, “It is encouraging to see parts of the Council agreeing to look at one of the root cause of climate change – the absurdity of chasing infinite economic growth on a planet of finite resources. But the Council has a history of making promises, missing deadlines and letting issues slip. We need to make sure this fundamental issue gets properly examined.”
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