On Wednesday 8 November 2017 the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Energy Centre, in collaboration with the Future Climate – Engineering Solutions (FC-ES) network, hosted a UK government pavilion event at the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. As nations look for opportunities to deliver and accelerate commitments to the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement at COP23, the discussions offered a timely reminder of the importance of industry and government collaboration in developing achievable emissions reduction strategies.
Speakers from a range of engineering sectors discussed evidence-based solutions for putting climate policies into action, calling for a deeper partnership between governments and engineers to develop effective implementation strategies.
Opening discussions, FC-ES steering group member Beatriz Fernandez presented the findings of the network’s National Energy Planning Good Practice Framework. The Framework brings together insights from developers of national energy plans across the globe to understand the key features of an effective plan. Reflecting on the project, Ms. Fernandez emphasised the need for early stakeholder engagement and equal consideration of factors such as affordability, security and sustainability.
The importance of considering the wider context in energy and climate planning was echoed by IChemE Energy Centre board member Mark Apsey, who outlined the benefits of chemical engineers’ systems thinking approach for addressing the challenge of the water-food-energy nexus: “As engineers we think about not how to fix one part of the problem – We look at our choices in the whole system to understand what the best options are. We have an opportunity to decouple economic growth with carbon emissions. [Systems thinking] can help us realise this”
Andy Webster, Co-Chair of the Future Climate – Engineering Solutions network and a Fellow of the IMechE, outlined the UK Department for Business of Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Global Calculator project, discussing its use by government, NGOs and the public to explore the relationship lifestyle choices, the energy system and climate impacts.
“The most important thing is understanding the boundaries we as nations face, and the need for a mix of solutions to achieve decarbonisation. The Global Calculator shifts thinking around energy and climate towards evidence-based solutions, and discussing these solutions with the public and other stakeholders is vital. The calculator introduces them in an accessible way, based on principles of openness, collaboration and simplicity.
“[Engineers] can help policy makers think about consequences to choices. We want to help people make the right decisions.”
Speaking after the event, Mr Webster said:
“This was the first time I personally have participated in the COP event and it’s been a really positive experience. The voice of engineers remains largely absent from the UNs climate programme, and as a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers I’m convinced we must continue to show up and speak up. We must use our skills to enable governments, the public, NGO’s and activists to understand the technical opportunities available to them to deliver on their climate goals, and more importantly the connectedness of their choices. We must work hard to avoid advocacy in answering the questions ‘does this technology work’ so that the public debate is informed and robust, and ultimately successful in achieving a reduction in carbon. I’m excited that off the back of this event, we will work with other national engineering organisations and across the engineering organisations in the UK to develop these options in our Energy and Climate plans.”
Chair of the IChemE Energy Centre, Stefaan Simons, said: “The considerable challenge of meeting emissions reduction targets cannot happen without a deep collaboration between industry and policy makers. The IChemE Energy Centre’s involvement the Future Climate – Engineering Solutions is a great example of what the engineering profession can bring to this partnership.
Engineering solutions are fundamental to developing coherent national energy and climate plans, and COP23 is an excellent platform for us to highlight the role the sector must play in delivering them. Strategies that underpin such plans, from improving resource and energy efficiency to making the transition to low carbon fuels, rely on the expertise of chemical engineers, and the Energy Centre will be producing Green Papers on these issues in 2018.”
Notes to media
For more information please contact:
Tara Wilson, PR and Communications Manager, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534454 / +44 (0) 1788 534454
Jacob Ohrvik-Stott, Policy Officer – Energy, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 207 927 8182
About the IChemE Energy Centre
The IChemE Energy Centre is a forum for the chemical and process engineering community to provide decision makers around the world with authoritative and impartial advice on energy issues.
The centre uses this unique expertise to provide government and industry with insights needed to develop effective energy policy and address the energy challenges of national and global importance
For more information, visit: http://www.icheme.org/energycentre
About the Future-Climate Engineering Solutions
Future Climate – Engineering Solutions (FC-ES) is a global alliance of national engineering institutions working to develop and share good practice in national energy and climate planning, with the objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil energy. The alliance provides policy makers and industry with engineering solutions and insights to support the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
For more information, visit: www.fc-es.net