A warning − the challenge of engineering a low-carbon future is going to be really, really hard − probably the hardest challenge ever, in fact.
Fortunately engineers love a challenge. And besides, the prize for success is saving the planet, so it is probably worth the effort.
“Perhaps saving the planet sounds overdramatic? But a bit more drama around this issue is maybe what is needed.”
Perhaps saving the planet sounds overdramatic? But with four months before world leaders gather to set, and agree, new greenhouse gas emission targets, a bit more drama around this issue is maybe what is needed.
The policies needed to limit global warming to just 2°C by 2050 will see radical change required to the world’s infrastructure and put civil engineers in the driving seat.
So this is our moment. The mitigation solutions lie in rethinking energy supply and distribution, transport, housing and logistics. The adaptation solutions will be around flood control, water supply and infrastructure resilience.
We have to lead with these solutions then sell them to our politicians and the public and the latter challenge could be the most taxing.
So what’s NCE going to do to help? The answer, I hope, will be to provide you with the information, communication and leadership required, as Construction Industry Council chairman Keith Clarke puts it, to turn “rhetoric into real meaning”.
“Central to this process will be to open the floor to you. It is critical that the whole profession engages in this debate.”
For a start we are committed to running regular articles on the issues under discussion, facts behind the debate, and the policies being brought forward in response to climate change.
This starts with our build up to the COP15 conference and will continue as we attempt to understand and explain the role that engineering professionals will need to play.
Central to this process will be to open the floor to you. It is critical that the whole profession engages in this debate and works together to understand the challenges, then collaborates and shares ideas to find the solutions.
Disseminating best practice ideas for delivering a low-carbon future is also critical. We will commit to finding these ideas and work with the industry to ensure that low-carbon innovations become mainstream practice.
“The challenge for us all is to make carbon reduction simply what we do.”
We will positively encourage and celebrate the engineering solutions, organisations and individuals that are driving us to a low-carbon future and highlight those which are not.
Meanwhile, in our own backyard we will continue to measure our magazine carbon footprint, develop our own carbon budget then introduce measures and set targets to reduce it.
The challenge for us all is to make carbon reduction simply what we do. As a profession, as a society and as individuals we have to remap the way that we think and act so as to manage carbon in the same way we manage our cash.
It will not be easy. But there’s the challenge and now it’s over to us all. I look forward to working with you.