What are the climate change facts?
- Earth’s climate has been constantly changing - long before humans came into the picture. However, scientists have observed unusual changes in the past 100 years of historical records
- There is strong scientific evidence that human activities are contributing to global climate change
- Climate change impacts the natural environment as well as constructed infrastructure
- A range of regional climate impacts are predicted including changes in precipitation patterns—particularly the intensity, duration and frequency of precipitation events as well as warmer summer and winter temperatures. Increased risks are expected as a result of these changes, including risks related to flooding, forest fires, air-pollution events, and supply of fresh water
- All of these risks have significant socio-economic impacts
How consulting engineering firms act in the public interest on climate change
The design life of infrastructure is inherently long. Service requirements for buildings, roads and bridges, sewage and water treatment and other engineered infrastructure are typically decades. Decisions we make as engineering firms today will be felt for years to come.
Changes to design practices to modify current and future infrastructure are critical to the future of our industry and the world, and cannot be made without the involvement of our industry.
In carrying out their work, consulting engineering firms:
- Consider the impact of the climate on our work (adaptation) and consider the impact of our work on the climate (mitigation)
- Balance social, economic and environmental factors in the public need
- Inform clients where there is a more sustainable or less harmful alternative
- Incorporate sustainable practices into our design whenever appropriate
- Be informed and train employees of current best practices and potential adjustments to practice
- Evaluate the risk of changing climate on engineering practices
- Strive to develop leading edge solutions that can reduce human induced climate change impacts through research and development of new innovative technologies
- Seek trusted advisor roles with clients, governments, regulators, researchers, and the general public by speaking out from a position of knowledge about what is possible, and what is being done internationally
ACEC-Canada’s position with respect to climate change
ACEC-Canada is the national voice of consulting engineering in Canada. ACEC-Canada members have a direct influence on virtually every aspect of our economic, social and environmental quality of life in Canada. ACEC-Canada encourages its members to act as ‘trusted advisors’ to clients, governments, regulators, researchers, and the general public on environmental and climate change issues.
ACEC-Canada recognizes that:
- Climate change is real
- The work of our member organizations and member firms is of critical importance to the development of a more sustainable world
- ACEC-Canada members are leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is our responsibility to be stewards of environmentally conscious, sustainable and resilient design
- The consulting engineering industry considers sustainability, resiliency and the environment as vital components of relevant projects, as applicable and in the context of current societal needs
- The consulting engineering industry develops and implements new state of the art solutions to mitigate human impact on climate change
- ACEC-Canada grants the Tree for Life award to a project by a member firm that improves the environment and minimizes and mitigates climate change impacts
This is a national (Canadian) initiative with the vision for it to become the global standard.