Chris Nielsen, President of Engineers Australia's Queensland Division, weighs in on how shifting attitudes towards climate change will bring new approaches for Engineers:
Climate change is a mainstream issue that all aspects of politics and society are tackling. Global CO2 emissions have flattened since 2016 and, optimistically, we are now heading in the right direction to manage our future sustainably.
Since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 the climate debate has changed; instead of arguing about the validity of the science we’re now arguing about renewable energy targets and how urgent change needs to be. Whilst this is an ongoing argument, it has proved to be vastly more constructive and alludes to a more sustainable future.
Mitigation and adaptation against climate change cannot be successful without engineering solutions. By providing unbiased technical advice to decision makers and the public, motivating change through our achievements and communicating the consequences of inaction, engineers have the ability to drive change and to positively motivate and encourage our communities to seek a better future.
As an engineer practicing in a world of change, often in resource and energy industries, it is worth considering Engineers Australia’s climate policy, which states the following for members:
- Engineers have an ethical responsibility for, and play a key role in, limiting atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, through transformative change and innovation in engineering education, and practice.
- Engineers are well placed to understand and assess the viability of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies needed to make the difference and have the practical know-how to implement these strategies.
- Engineers proactively participate together to address the causes and impacts of climate change as a significant ecological, social and economic risk.
- Reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere associated with engineering activities should be accorded urgent priority in engineering endeavours.
- Engineers should include risk analysis and advice of the likely impacts of climate change in their work.
- Engineers should maintain an awareness of contemporary climate change science and advances thereof, and contribute to the refinement of knowledge and approach, to encourage the best possible engineering outcomes.
More information on Engineers Australia’s position on climate change and energy are available to interested parties: