The message at CSE23 was clear: It’s time to change the narrative and move beyond what can be done to what must be done. Engineers Australia is stepping up to drive that change in mindset and influence true climate-smart practice.
“Climate Smart Engineering (CSE23) has demonstrated that the engineering voice in addressing climate change has never been stronger — nor more important,” said Engineers Australia National President Dr Nick Fleming CPEng EngExec.
“As those who design the world around us, engineers have an opportunity and an obligation to come together to create solutions.”
Echoing the statements of many presenters over the two days of the conference, Fleming believes that we need to move past invention to innovation and that practical, innovative engineering will be essential in addressing and reducing emissions to move to a more sustainable economy.
“It is vital that governments, investors, the private sector and the wider community collaborates with the engineering profession to accelerate engineering innovation.” he said.
But innovation is not just required in the technology space, it’s also required in the policy space to support the necessary growth in the engineering workforce to ensure Australia’s energy transition.
“The importance of building workforce capacity and capability was certainly laid bare during CSE23,” Fleming said.
“This is particularly pressing in the energy sector, where engineers will have a major role to play in retrofitting, repowering and repurposing engineering assets as well as developing sustainable future technologies.”
“Getting the best out of the current workforce and attracting diverse and talented people to the profession will be key to enabling a more productive, innovative clean energy sector.”
Upskilling the current engineering workforce should also be top of mind.
“As those who design the world around us, engineers have an opportunity and an obligation to come together to create solutions. These should be solutions that resonate with people economically and for their impact.”
Update on the Climate Smart Engineering Initiative (CSEI)
Earlier in the day, Damian Ogden, Group Executive Policy and Public Affairs, Engineers Australia provided an update on the Climate Smart Engineering Initiative (CSEI). The CSEI is Engineers Australia’s commitment to reducing Australia’s emissions while utilising engineering expertise to drive a net zero emissions future.
“This event, which this year falls on the eve of COP28, is a chance for us to engage with the latest thinking in terms of responding to climate change, moving to a more circular economy and upholding the principles of sustainable practices in engineering,” said Ogden.
As an accredited observer to the UNFCCC Engineers Australia will attend COP28.
What is CSEI?
The CSEI is Engineers Australia’s policy that underpins both CSE23 and serves as a central vehicle for climate action within the engineering profession.
“It represents a practical commitment to engineering-climate leadership, and serves as a central vehicle for climate action within the engineering profession.” Ogden said.
“Engineers must be at the forefront in policy formulation and decision-making affecting the scoping, planning, design, delivery and operation of systems for climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
CSEI is a professional and engineering-led framework that has six areas of focus: mitigation, adaptation, enhanced resilience, circular economy, capacity building and economic opportunity.
Activities in support of these areas of focus are already underway including:
- Co-development of a climate risk tool
- A project to bring an engineering perspective to disaster planning, recovery and resilience efforts across government and
- Work to standardise existing carbon footprint calculations and methodologies, across the lifecycle, with a central reposit for practicing engineers to access.
- Developing near and net zero emissions engineering standards and technical specifications across lifecycles
“Engineers need support to transparently measure, monitor and publicly disclose their climate actions to inform learning and the implementation. They need a framework for continuous improvements and development of a peer-reviewed approach to evaluating climate-related risks and apply them to engineering decision-making.” Ogden continued.
Engineers Australia acknowledges the support of the Victorian State Government and Melbourne Convention Bureau in helping make this event happen.
The Climate Smart Engineering conference will return in 2024.