COP23: Evidence-based climate change solutions needed

Article by Helen Tunnicliffe

Left to right: Beatriz Fernandez, Jacob Ohrvik-Stott, Mark Apsey and Andrew Webster

SPEAKERS at an IChemE-hosted event at the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, have called for evidence-based solutions to achieve global carbon targets.

The event was jointly hosted by the IChemE Energy Centre and the Future Climate-Engineering Solutions (FC-ES) network, a global alliance of national engineering institutions seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and share good practice in national energy and climate planning. Speakers from various sectors discussed evidence-based solutions and called for closer collaboration between industry and government.

“The considerable challenge of meeting emissions reduction targets cannot be overcome without deep collaboration between industry and policy makers. The IChemE Energy Centre’s involvement with Future Climate-Engineering Solutions is an example of what the engineering profession can bring to this partnership,” said IChemE Energy Centre chair Stef Simons.

FC-ES steering group member Beatriz Fernandez opened proceedings with a presentation on FC-ES’ new National Energy Planning Good Practice Framework, which looks at the most effective features of energy plans from around the world. Fernandez said that early stakeholder engagement is needed, as well as balanced consideration of affordability, security and sustainability.

IChemE Energy Centre Board member, Mark Apsey looked at the benefits of a ‘systems thinking’ approach to addressing the water-energy-food nexus.

“Chemical engineers don’t think about how to fix just one part of the problem – we look at choices in the whole system to understand what the best options are. We have an opportunity to decouple economic growth from carbon emissions. Systems thinking can help us realise this,” he said.

Andrew Webster, co-chair of FC-ES, outlined the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Global Calculator project, an interactive tool for the public exploring the link between lifestyle, energy use and climate change.

“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,” said Simons.

Article by Helen Tunnicliffe

Senior reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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