ACEC-BC Climate Change Position

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 rate of change in the past 100 years of historical records
  • There is unequivocal 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 freshwater
  • 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 our 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
  • Implement the more sustainable or less harmful alternative whenever feasible
  • Incorporate sustainable practices into our design whenever appropriate
  • Be informed and train employees on current best practices and potential adjustments to practice
  • Evaluate the risk of changing climate and extreme weather events on engineering practices
  • Assess the vulnerability of infrastructure to climate change and extreme weather events
  • Strive to develop leading edge solutions that can reduce human induced climate change impacts through research and development of new innovative technologies
  • Recognize and support collaboration with Indigenous Peoples to ensure traditional knowledge, values, and beliefs are respected and included in our approach to assessing and understanding the environmental impacts of our work.
  • 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
  • Advise and provide leadership to bodies responsible for engineering codes, standards, and work practices to consider climate change when reviewing, establishing, or updating codes, standards, and work practices.

ACEC-BC’s position with respect to climate change 

ACEC-BC is the provincial voice of consulting engineering in British Columbia. ACEC-BC members have a direct influence on virtually every aspect of our economic, social and environmental quality of life in British Columbia. ACEC-BC encourages its members to act as trusted advisors to clients, governments, regulators, researchers, and the general public on environmental and climate change issues.

ACEC-BC recognizes that:

  • Climate change is real, and Earth’s climate is changing at an unprecedented rate
  • The work of our member organizations and member firms is of critical importance to the development of a more sustainable world
  • ACEC-BC members are leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is our responsibility to be stewards of environmentally conscious, sustainable, and resilient design
  • Adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are two distinct but interconnected components of taking climate action. Our members focus on both
  • 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 solutions to mitigate human impact on climate change

ACEC-BC Commitment:

As the provincial body representing consulting engineering in British Columbia, there are three important considerations that we will address:

  1. Reducing emissions related to our own operations across the industry
  2. Reducing embedded and operational carbon emissions in the projects on which we consult, design, and deliver
  3. Supporting climate change adaptation through mitigation and design of resilient infrastructure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the climate change position statement created?
The position was developed to describe our commitment to promoting understanding of climate change and application of sustainable practices by our industry. The position aligns with similar statements from ACEC Canada and other partners.
Why does the statement refer to social/societal factors and not just engineering?
All engineering decisions impact society. Engineering professionals have a duty to understand the impact of their work on our climate and consider how they can incorporate more sustainable practices. We believe it is important to demonstrate our commitment to consider human factors and community knowledge in our decision making. Communicating our approach ensures that the communities we serve understand that our design and engineering solutions incorporate broad understanding.
Who drafted the statement and what is the review process?

The statement was drafted initially by a sub-committee within the Sustainability & Climate Change Committee. The position was reviewed internally by the committee before being distributed amongst the other ACEC-BC committees and then finally to the ACEC-BC Board of Directors, with feedback gathered, discussed, and incorporated at all stages.

The Position was approved by the ACEC-BC Board of Directors in September 2023.

How does the Climate Change Position affect engineering professionals and their practice?
The Climate Change Position reflects both our aspirations toward sustainability and actions already integrated in consulting engineering practice. Engineering practice complies with relevant regulation and responds to the needs of our clients. In BC, engineering practice already incorporates regulation supporting sustainability and resilience. The position is a reminds us of both our obligations and our aspirations.
What resources were used in the creation of the Climate Change Position Statement?
ACEC-BC’s position is primarily adopted from ACEC Canada’s Climate Change Position. The relationship ensures a cohesive and unified approach to tackling climate change on both provincial and national levels. However, a wide range of published climate change charters, position statements and guidelines from various engineering bodies and associations were also reviewed before creating ACEC-BC’s position statement. Listed below are some of the important documents reviewed:

  1. ACEC Canada Climate Change Position Statement
  2. Engineers and Geoscientists BC Climate Change Action Plan
  3. Engineers Canada National Position Statement on Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events
  4. FIDIC Climate Change Charter

Consulting Engineering firms are partners, experts, and innovators working for British Columbians.

Our mandate is to advance the business interests of consulting engineering firms in BC by advocating for fair business practices and building awareness of the industry’s contributions to society and innovative technical expertise.

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