Sadly, we have seen the global impact of Climate Change to a level that surprised even the Climate Scientists, including wildfires in Canada, United States, Chile, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Kazakhstan and elsewhere and flooding in India, China, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Georgia and elsewhere.
Since my first draft of this article, the sad news has broken of disastrous flooding in Libya caused by the extreme precipitation from storm Daniel.
Note that scientists do not generally attribute individual extreme weather events to climate change, rather Climate Change leads to an increased probability of such events occurring. However, these extreme events also correlate to record average temperatures - a link that I think we are all starting to understand.
Weather in Belgium and Italy
This article is targeted at PMI members in Belgium and Northern Italy - so I'll look further at the impact in these countries.
This is due to "heat dome" flanked by two strong storms. Whilst much of Europe has again been facing high temperatures, Spain and Greece have been deluged because of heavy precipitations.
Before this latest heatwave, during July and August, in Belgium we experienced a Summer with little sun and lots of rain - of course disappointing for students, school-children and their families wanting to enjoy their summer holidays.
In this same period, Italy has been continuing to face extreme heat and again drought and flooding.
Italian climatologist Luca Mercalli describes Italy as ‘one of the most fragile places in the world’ after recent storms, wildfires and glacier collapse.
Such different extremes of weather, within the distance of 1000km between Belgium and Italy, is an illustration that Climate Change can materialise in very different ways in different territories as expressed through the weather.
UNFCCC update and G20 summit
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has just (8 Sept) published the "Technical dialogue of the first global stocktake" - a key assessment of progress towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement (to limit global temperature rise to 2, or preferably 1.5 Celsius).
The overall summary is: Implementation must accelerate to increase ambition across all fronts, taking an all-of-society approach to make progress towards the Paris Agreement goals and respond to the climate crisis, finds technical report on first global stocktake
There are many good summaries already published (which I will not attempt to repeat) but I find the LinkedIn post from Roberta Boscola (Climate & Energy Leader at World Meteorological Organisation) and Christopher Caldwell (Conversations on Climate leader) helpful.
Fundamentally, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are not yet sufficient to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
I was encouraged to see the following call to action from COP28 President-Designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber:
“I am calling on leaders from both the public and private sector to come to COP28 with real and actionable commitments to address climate change. We need to rapidly decarbonize both the supply side and demand side of the energy system at the same time. We need to triple renewable energy by 2030, commercialize other zero carbon solutions like hydrogen and scale up the energy system free of all unabated fossil fuels, while we eliminate the emissions of the energies we use today. We need to protect and enhance nature, safeguard carbon sinks and transform food systems that account for one third of emissions. And we need fundamental reform of the international financial architecture that was built for the last century.”
However, I fear that a lot of energy at the forthcoming COP28 (30 Nov - 12 Dec 2023) will be spent on the definition of the word "unabated"; this language seems to be used as an alternative to complete phasing out of fossil fuels.
There has been further good progress towards the PMI Sustainability Summit 2023 which is happening 8 Nov 2023 - in case you haven't yet, please save this date.
Our update of 7 Sept to PMI European Chapter leaders confirmed a good level of interest from across the PMI European community.
We are delighted to confirm Simon King as the opening keynote speaker. Simon has created, filmed, directed and presented many award-winning TV programmes and films. Some of the best known being Springwatch, Big Cat Diary, Planet Earth, Blue Planet and more recently Wild Isles.
What can you expect at the event? You will hear from renowned experts on climate and sustainability topics. Participate in inspiring discussions and obtain new ideas for yourself, your projects, your Organisation and of course for our PMI Chapters. And much more: you will have valuable input and be inspired to undertake small actions, which, put all together, will make a difference.
The summit will feature contributions from: Green Project Management, Jane Goodall Institute, Save Our Wild Isles, Climate Fresk, and many more, so it promises to be a great event.
I encourage you to subscribe (without charge) here.
We will be leveraging the video capabilities of the conference platform - see an example here.
As a reminder I will be presenting at PMFAIR 2023 on the theme: The Climate Crisis needs "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once" - this will require Gymnastic Project Management - but most of all our commitment.
I'll present an approach I have been exploring to apply Discounted Cash Flow principles to consider CO2 emission benefit flows and use an example of this technique to support making portfolio decisions in a "NetZero" context.
In case you have not already signed up for PMFAIR 2023, you can find out more, and register here.
I have sponsored a Climate Fresk booth at the event - which will provide you an opportunity to discover Climate Fresk face to face with experienced facilitators - also an opportunity to sign up to participate in a Climate Fresk workshop.
Some positive news
From Katherine Hayhoe's latest newsletter (which provides a great balance of Good vs Not so Good news):
"As record-breaking heatwaves roasted Europe and North America this summer, sending energy demand soaring, renewable energy kept the lights and the air conditioning on."
Recap on Climate Crisis articles over last year
Back in Aug 2022, when I approached PMI Belgium Chapter President, Christine Dassy, about a Climate Crisis initiative in our Chapter, she kindly suggested I write an article for the PMI Belgium Sept 2022 newsletter.
That article was well received, so I have continued writing monthly articles, and have been delighted with the level of interest (some articles getting over 1000 views).
Looking back over these tells an interesting story as the Climate Crisis has evolved significantly in the last year.
From a personal perspective, I can see how my own awareness of the Climate Crisis has developed - in particularly since Jan 2023 when I stepped out of full-time corporate activity to focus on the Climate Crisis.
I provide links below to some of the previous articles:
July 2023 - Staying positive despite the hottest week on record
June 2023 - Climate Fresk and the Sustainability Community of Action
May 2023 - The Weather, COP28 and PMI European Chapters tackling the Climate Crisis together
Apr 2023 - IPCC latest Assessment Report tells us that Climate Action can't wait
Mar 2023 - Taking Climate Action to a PMI European level
Feb 2023 - New Life: Out of Corporate and into Climate
Jan 2023 - January update on Climate Action (looking forward to retirement and COP28)
Nov 2022 - November update on Climate Action (start of COP27 edition)
Oct 2022 - Update on Climate Action - leading up to PMI Belgium Climate Action event
Sept 2022 - PMI Belgium - it's time for Climate Action
Note that the PMI Belgium Chapter website update has led to some of the links moving, leading to some links within previous articles no longer working - however you can find the articles back through the links above.
There was no PMI Belgium Newsletter published in August, hence this article comes after a 2-month break.
Summer 2023 has shown us that Climate Change is already with us. Of course, this leads to concern, but we should channel that concern into a gritty determination to make a positive difference rather than letting this concern lead to fear an inaction. If you're interested in discovering more about a hopeful approach to positive climate action, I thoroughly recommend Katherine Hayhoe's "Saving Us":
As COP28 approaches, this is a critical period for Climate Crisis and it is good to see the multiple PMI initiatives relating to this theme. Please let me know if you'd like to get more involved.