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Academy lists engineers role in climate mitigation

By Victor Gbonegun
16 May 2022   |   2:49 am
Experts under the aegis of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng) have called on engineers to reduce the impact of climate change through systems development, mitigation

Experts under the aegis of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng) have called on engineers to reduce the impact of climate change through systems development, mitigation and adaptation measures.

They noted that engineers have a critical role to play in climate technology through direct mitigation or removal of emissions, and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

According to them, engineers are trained to apply systems thinking to solve the complex solution, adding that the systems approach can help to identify ‘quick win and no regret action’ to make the planet more liveable.

Speaking on ‘Climate Change, COP26 and the Nigerian Engineer’ at a webinar organised by the NAEng in Lagos, Independent energy consultant, Dr. Funmi Coker, said engineers have to identify how, where and when best to deploy available technological solutions, balancing technological, economic and social factors as well as develop and implement engineering design standards and practices for changes in climate.

Coker said engineers must develop building codes for adverse weather, high ambient temperature and for reduced energy consumption, drainage systems, flood protection, coastal/soil erosion protection and water supply security.

He emphasised that they must also develop and implement low GreenHouseGas (GHG) emission power supply, transportation systems and industrial facilities, low-GHG agriculture, human and agriculture waste management and energy efficiency systems.

He said climate targets and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without engineers and urged multidisciplinary approaches to respond to the climate crisis. Coker recommended that policymakers, professionals and stakeholders must come together to build on fundamental scientific evidence and rapidly implement solutions that are affordable, efficient, equitable, respectful and inclusive for all.

“Engineers must build capacity and ensure technology transfer, work with government and international organisations on the development of green engineering skills, work with academic institutions on climate change in curriculum and work with universities and research institutions on climate change research and development,” she said.

On climate change vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce impacts of climate change, chairman, environment and climate change committee of NAEng, Prof. Salihu Mustafa, said actions to address the root causes of climate include, embarking on nature-based solutions, reducing methane leakages from manufacturing industries, replacing GHG emitting fuels like coal, oil, natural gas with renewable energies, retrofitting old buildings and new structures to make them energy-efficient, using more electric and solar-powered vehicles and other measures.

In his presentation, the Chairman, Engineering and Environment Management Services ltd, Prof. Samuel Adefila, explained that climate change challenges could only be managed through the trans-disciplinary application of Political, Economic, Social Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) as a framework to ensure the sustainability of human civilisation on earth.

Adefila, therefore, advanced nature designs to avert climate change and make humans safe on the planet.

The minister of state for the environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor who said Nigeria is classified as one of the ten most vulnerable countries to climate change impact, reiterated efforts of the Federal government to ensure Nigeria meets its commitments to global obligations aimed at reducing the impacts.

Earlier, the NAEng President, Alexander Ogedengbe, said the academy is a leading think-tank in the advancement of science, engineering and technology. He stated that NAE is determined to serve as a major driver of national development and international competitiveness.

Ogedengbe explained that the forum was to educate and engage stakeholders on the impacts of climate change and deliberate on the role of the Nigerian engineers.

In a remark, Mr. Yves Bamberger of the National Academy of Technologies of France urged leaders to develop policies that are inclusive, increase the quality of life, provide better housing for the people and decarbonize emissions.