Author: Stuart Thorp
I wrote the previous Climate Action article at the start of the COP27 global Climate Conference. Despite the dire warnings from the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, COP27 made no real progress in Climate Mitigation (maintaining global temperature rise within 1.5C).
In the PMI Belgium "Climate Action with Walk2COP27" event of 24 Nov, Sam Baker shared with us his further perspectives on Walk2COP27 and COP27.
This global initiative, led by Sam, involved 1661 participants across 68 countries to walk/run/cycle/wheelchair 103,576 km, leading to the planting of 200,000 trees in Burundi.
This great initiative demonstrates the value of participation in Climate Action initiatives with key themes emerging being:
- Need for greater awareness and Education on Climate Change
- There is a tremendous appetite to engage, with strong solidarity
- Big organisation inertia can be a hurdle to Climate Action
- It is important to align with and amplify other initiatives rather than to compete
- You'll never know the impact of your actions
In order to underscore the idea of a journey from COP26 in Scotland to COP27 in Egypt we held townhalls in 12 countries over the 57 days. Each townhall was an exposition of the challenges of climate change in that country and solutions. Townhalls were hybrid or virtual, inclusive were fascinating learning opportunities
The expectations in advance of COP27 were already limited, largely due to poor progress since COP26 on Mitigation, Adaptation, Finance and Collaboration.
Unfortunately, outcomes were disappointing in most areas except for some agreement on "Loss and Damage" funding to states impacted by Climate Change as well as some progress on multi-lateral financial institutional changes.
The EU and its allies voiced strong concerns about an outcome that did little to advance efforts to stay below 1.5C, beyond what had been agreed at COP26 in Glasgow last year.
Developing nations (such as Barbados) sent strong messages that they understand what needs to happen, but the problem is primarily getting the political will (specifically from the developed nations & "petro-states") to take responsibility and make the necessary changes.
The COP27 process and organisation were flawed and heavily influenced by the fossil fuel lobby; final agreements suffered from "last-minute" drafting. This has triggered the UN Climate chief (Simon Stiell) to consider a fundamental shake-up of the COP process.
Given the disappointment of COP27, Sam raised the challenge to the PMI that the skills we bring as project professionals could make a significant contribution towards a more positive COP28.
Sam also shared some great resources with us including the highly recommended Carbon Brief.
PMI Global initiatives:
Christine Dassy shared some views from a PMI Global perspective including highlighting Climate Crisis as one of the 6 PMI Global megatrends.
You can find out more via the PMI Global site.
Christine also remained us that Project Managers we could consider the following is out current projects:
- Integrating emissions targets into performance indicators
- Build emissions management into way of working
- Engage with all stakeholders about sustainability practices
Reducing personal Carbon footprint
In my session on reducing personal carbon footprint, I explained how I had achieved nearly 21 Tonnes of annual CO2e emissions savings through a house restoration project and swapping to electric driving.
I described my ambition to use the lessons learned from this personal activity, together with professional engagement via PMI and the global "COUNT US IN" initiative to scale up individual Climate Action by orders of magnitude by 2030.
Subject to the level of interest, I'd be happy to set up a working session to follow up on this.
I recommended some follow-up reading including Greta Thunberg's "The Climate Book" - a great Christmas / New Year present for family & friends.
Less is more, more reduction
In this session, Kris Van Hoeymissen asked us the following question:
The correct answer is "B" as this aligns with the "Energy Efficiency First" (EE1st) principle.
This is an EU principle and, in the current context of reducing dependency on Russian fossil fuel supplies, the "REPowerEU" plan has raised the efficiency savings target to 13% by 2030.
Kris described the EE1st framework based on demand and supply side resources and the need to map out all sources, uses and losses of energy to gain a full understanding.
He also gave some good examples of cost and benefits categories we can all consider in our projects
Kris shared his experiences as sustainability manager for a major industrial site (Kellogg’s "Pringles" site in Belgium) to make 15% energy savings whilst also increasing production.
He also described his Social Housing Project for KBM Beringen. The principles applied in the 3,750 homes in Kris' project were essentially the same as Stuart had described in his session earlier: starting out with energy efficiency and then introducing sustainable energy solutions.
PMI chapter participation
COP27 shows us that we can't necessarily count on our global political leaders to take the steps necessary to manage the Climate challenge.
We, as project professionals, have the experience and skills that could make a real difference.
In the 24 Nov Climate Action session, we discussed several possible areas of future activity for PMI Belgium:
Note: "Walk2COP28" refers to taking forward collaboration with Sam Baker following on from the Walk2COP27 initiative.
I am happy to lead on some of these but would welcome volunteers with an interest in any these topics. If you are interested to participate further, please contact Stuart Thorp or the PMI Belgium events team
You can find a summary of the "Climate Action with Walk2COP27" event on PMI Belgium Facebook site.