Civil Engineers declare Climate Emergency

Civil engineers across the UK have declared a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency and in doing so, agree to take action and accelerate change.

On 1st May, the UK Government declared an Environmental and Climate Emergency. On 27th June the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming; committing the UK to a legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Cities across the world are declaring Climate Emergencies and people are taking to the street to demand action in the face of extinction. Action is being demanded requiring urgent progress across all sectors of our economy.

Our major infrastructure systems of transport, energy, water, waste, and telecommunications account for approximately half of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and have a significant impact on our natural habitats. As civil engineers, who design such infrastructure systems, our primary purpose has always been to enhance society and the wellbeing of people and our planet. But meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in the demands of government and our economic drivers.

The research and technology exists for us to accelerate that transformation now but what has been lacking is the collective will from government and industry. Recognising this, civil engineering firms across the UK are committing to strengthening their own working practices and completing engineering outcomes that have a greater positive impact on the world around us.

The Civil Engineers declaration now sits alongside declarations from Structural Engineers and Building Services Engineers. By bringing together communities of professionals in every sector, we can start to successfully open source our knowledge and expertise. This is the only way we are going to realistically accelerate meaningful change.

The research and technology exists for us to accelerate transformation now. What has been lacking is collective will in government and industry. We urgently need current best practice to become normal practice. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices and commit to create complete engineering outcomes that deliver more positive impacts on the world around us.

Mike Cook, partner

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