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Fri, 4 December 2020

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National Engineering Policy Centre to provide advice to government on reaching net zero emissions

Institution of Engineering and Technology

3 min read

Engineering has a vital role to play in creating systems and solutions to address the climate crisis.

The National Engineering Policy Centre – which includes the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering – has convened a diverse range of experts to provide agile and continued advice to government to help address the long-term global threat posed by climate change and support its goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This will include recommendations for a recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic that puts the UK on track for net zero.

Engineering has a vital role to play in creating systems and solutions to address the climate crisis. The UK government faces urgent and difficult decision-making across engineering-driven economic sectors such as energy, construction, manufacturing and transport. Engineers from every discipline are the people who will design, build, retrofit, operate and make safe the infrastructure and technologies that will enable a decarbonised UK to become a reality.

The UK engineering community benefits from world-leading expertise in planning and designing these services and can apply systems thinking, creativity and problem-solving to provide advice on how to decarbonise them.

The National Engineering Policy Centre has assembled a diverse group of experts from organisations including the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the IET, the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Energy Institute, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the British Academy.

The group forms a forum for debate and will draw heavily on insights and perspectives from an even wider range of expertise from engineering and other disciplines such as social and system sciences as needed.

Topic areas to be covered include:

  • Rebuilding after Covid-19: recommendations for a recovery that puts us on track for net zero
  • Net zero explained: how the UK’s climate target fits into the global sustainability challenge
  • Priority actions and upcoming decision points: understanding which policies are ‘low regrets’ solutions
  • Decarbonising construction: tackling the operation and supply chain of one of the most challenging sectors

Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “Engineers have a responsibility to actively support the reduction of greenhouse gases to protect our planet from adverse climate change. The National Engineering Policy Centre is uniquely placed to galvanise and lead the engineering community to focus on activities that can deliver practical, deployable solutions in response to the scientific evidence.

“As engineers we can capitalise on our experience and use of systems approaches in bringing together different elements – from technological to financial, from regulatory to ethical – to create practical solutions and help the government to make tough and lasting decisions that will reduce harmful emissions whilst creating jobs and benefitting people’s lives.”

Simon Harrison, IET Vice President and member of the National Engineering Policy Centre committee, adds: “Delivering the Government’s commitment to net zero greenhouse gases by 2050 is a challenge that will require critical policy decisions, and transformational change. 

The Government is looking to the National Engineering Policy Centre for trustworthy engineering thinking to inform key decisions it will need to make in the months and years ahead. It is my privilege to be representing the IET on the working group of engineers from across the profession who are developing this thinking.”

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