Seven cities on a Zero Carbon Journey

In line with Paris Agreement and a carbon budgeting approach


Publication date

October 9, 2019

Ambitious Manchester

In 2019 Manchester decided to become a zero carbon city by 2038. At city level, this means capping total emissions at 15 million tonnes of CO2 between 2018-2100 based on a science-based ‘carbon budget’ in line with the Paris Agreement. Therefore, Manchester need to halve their emissions between 2018 and 2022 – a 13% reduction every year. Manchester is not only looking at its direct emissions, but also at consumption-based emissions as well as aviation emissions. An annual report is prepared to show whether the city is on track or not.

Reaching these ambitious targets requires the necessary governance structures. Internally, Manchester City Council set up the Manchester City Council Zero Carbon Coordination Group chaired by the deputy chief executive.  This group involves different municipal departments via the directors/heads of the respective departments: Planning, Strategic development, Neighbourhoods team (community focused), Legal, Finance, Communications, Housing, Human Resources, Policy, Building estates (municipal buildings).

A climate Change Partnership

However, in Manchester responsibility is allocated to different stakeholders for up to 20% of Manchester’s total CO2 emissions. The City Council has a facilitation and leadership role where they can gather key stakeholders to take joint action. These stakeholders are part of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership composed of public, private, community and academic partners from the faith sector, local property companies, the Manchester City football club, the two local universities, the social housing sector, the climate change youth board, the culture sector etc.

The Climate Change Partnership is part of the Our Manchester Forum, a local governance structure that goes beyond climate change and covers all sectors.

The Zero Carbon Cities project

project team

Manchester is working closely with Frankfurt (Germany), Vilvoorde (Belgium), Zadar (Croatia), Bistrita (Romania), Modena (Italy) and Tartu (Estonia) in the framework of the Zero Carbon Cities project. All of these cities will set up a local carbon budget and a Zero Carbon strategy and action plan by 2022. 

‘Zero Carbon Cities’ is a two and a half year project, funded by the European Union’s ‘URBACT’ programme. 

You can find out more about the project and the partner cities in this 7-minute video from our kick-off meeting in Manchester on 26-27th September 2019.