As the engineering sector turns its attention to the climate crisis, UNSW Engineering has taken the lead in being the first university to commit to a movement steering the profession towards a low carbon future.

UNSW Engineering is the first engineering school in Australia to sign up to the Australian Engineers Declare movement to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

The 12-point declaration aims to mobilise the engineering sector to take more action on climate change and be a leader in addressing the world’s most pressing problems. It acknowledges that engineers are connected to 65% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and pledges to actively work towards a low-carbon future.

About 1,400 Australian engineers and 120 organisations have signed up so far to “evaluate all new projects against the environmental necessity to mitigate climate change”.

Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman said that UNSW joined the movement because it recognises that engineers need to take account of the environmental impact of their work.

“This is a core principal of engineering education at UNSW. We are proud of our global-leading solar and renewable energy programs whose graduates have changed the world.  And we’re also supportive of our mining and petroleum engineering programs, who are developing new technologies to enhance sustainable mining and energy extraction. We educate graduates in every discipline to create a sustainable future, because it is so important,” Professor Hoffman said.

“Climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are two of the most serious issues of our time – we’re witnessing global temperature records, floods, fires, storms and drought. By signing this declaration, UNSW Engineering is expressing its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and accelerating Australia’s transition to a low carbon future. I hope we inspire other universities, organisations and individuals to follow suit.”

The movement supports its participants across six areas, including engagement, mobilising organisations and transition planning.

Engineers Declare Australia is a volunteer-led organisation run by engineers who believe in the engineering profession’s potential to shape a better future for everyone. It was established to mobilise the engineering sector to take more action on climate change, faster, connect individuals and organisations to facilitate greater collaboration, and encourage the profession to lead on climate action in the public domain.

On 20 November, a date that coincides with the opening of the World Engineers Convention, Australian Engineers Declare will shift to “Australian Engineers Act”, which aims to inspire the engineering profession to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future.