Autore: Stuart Thorp  | 15 October 2023

In this article I will "talk about the weather" - trying to put this into the context of Climate Change.

I will also share some concerning news about preparations for COP28 and conclude with some more information about the initiative we have launched to collaborate with our colleagues across PMI European Chapters on the theme of Climate Crisis.

As part of this collaboration, PMI Northern Italy Chapter have reached out to request publishing these Climate Crisis articles also via their communication channel The HUB.

Greetings to new readers in Northern Italy as well as in Belgium (or wherever you are!)


Let's talk about the weather...

OK - I was born an Englishman, and we're all obsessed by the weather!

In Belgium we have been very lucky early 2023 - with recent rain largely making up the water shortage of last year. My local nature in Aalter, East Flanders, is exploding with green-ness: 


However, we should not be fooled into thinking that there is no Climate Crisis.

Across Europe, the major droughts from 2022 have continued through into 2023 with particularly severe situations in:

  • Spain, where they faced the hottest and driest April on record, and the government has had to announce emergency financial support to maintain food supplies.
  • France and Italy facing ongoing regional drought.
  • also record temperatures have been reported in Vietnam, Thailand, etc.


Whilst we have been lucky in Belgium, last week we experienced in Aalter a "flash" storm with a local rate of rain that I have never seen before; it was quite breath-taking. Luckily it had passed in less than 1 hour, leaving our railway station flooded. I was thinking - what if that had lasted for a day, or more? We would have been facing major flooding.

Note: Since this article was first published (16 May) there has been the sad news on 17 May of severe flooding, leading to loss of life, in Northern Italy. I am very sorry to hear this sad news, especially as this article will also be published to our colleagues in the PMI Northern Italy Chapter to whom I offer my condolences and best wishes at this difficult time. This is an unfortunate example that Climate Change can lead to both increased drought conditions as well as more frequent cases of severe precipitation, as warmer air can hold more moisture.

COP28 - will it deliver?

In my Mar 2023 article, I shared an "up-beat” view on the forthcoming COP28 conference (COP28 UAE | United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) ) , Nov/Dec 2023 in Dubai. However, in the last few days, there has been some concerning news:

Climate maths 'doesn't add up' without carbon capture: COP28 chief (What is carbon capture and how does it fight climate change? - BBC News)


COP battleground issue: The debate between carbon capture and reduced fossil fuel use is shaping as a key battleground at COP28, beginning in November in Dubai, the UAE's commercial hub.  [France 24 / AFP: 10/05/2023]

World not ready yet to ‘switch off’ fossil fuels, COP28 host UAE says:

The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday [09/05/2023] that countries should agree to phase out fuel emissions - not the production of oil, gas and coal - at the upcoming UN climate change negotiations that it will host this December. The comments reflect divisions between nations over how to combat global warming ahead of the COP28 talks.  [Alarabiya News / Reuters: 15/05/2023]


If any readers of this article have any influence over the COP28 negotiations, now would be a good time for some strong stakeholder management to maintain the Paris agreement targets.

In my Apr 2023 article, I summarised some highlights from the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report (Sixth Assessment Report — IPCC) - I also recommend reading the CarbonBrief summary which  includes the following view:

Although the [AR6] report outlines various ways to limit warming to 1.5C by 2100 (C1-C2), all of these pathways show deep emissions reductions over the next few decades, with both global CO2 and all GHG emissions peaking “between 2020 and at the latest before 2025” and CO2 emissions declining between 25% [net-negative emissions] and >50% [Low Demand] by 2030 relative to 2020 levels.

If we can't influence the COP28 outcome, a good risk management strategy is to proceed in any case, and without delay, with significantly reducing fossil fuel consumption as this will send a strong message to fossil fuel producers that their production is not needed or wanted.

PMI European Chapters working together on Climate Crisis

In my April 2023 article, I shared the "hot off the press" news of a positive a meeting (19 April) of PMI European Chapter Presidents and Climate Crisis representatives.

Representatives of 14 PMI Chapters unanimously agreed that we should collaborate, to tackle the Climate Crisis together. Given that the Climate Crisis is a "numbers driven" challenge, the greater our scale of activity, the greater the positive impact we will make.

We agreed a series of priority activities, with the 2 most popular being:

  • "Climate Fresk" climate awareness workshops
  • "How to start" playbook to guide PMI Chapters on how to initiate Sustainability Communities of Action

Initial work has started on both themes:

Climate Fresk:

  • Climate Fresk is a platform promoting Climate awareness through the delivery of interactive and stimulating workshops (lasting 3 hours).
  • With over 1.1 million attendees to date, attendance is growing exponentially (doubling every ~5 months).
  • This would be a low cost, low effort way of delivering climate awareness to the PMI community across European Chapters.
  • We could be enabling the PMI community to take Climate awareness into their employer / client organisations, putting the PMI in a leading position on this topic.
  • 2 pilot workshops have been planned for 18 & 20 May, each attended by 7 members of the PMI European Chapter climate crisis leadership team.
  • We will follow up with a workshop (25 May) to review the pilot sessions and, if acceptable, propose a roll-out strategy for Climate Fresk workshops across PMI European Chapters.
  • The workshops will be run by Sam Baker - who has contributed to previous PMI Belgium Climate Crisis activity as well as leading the Walk2COP26 and Walk2COP27
  • I will report back in my June article on the outcome if these workshops - my intention is that there should be some specific news of when and how you will be able to attend a Climate Fresk workshop.
  • You are of course free to attend a Climate Fresk workshop at any time as an individual or as a member of another organisation (see details) - our aim here is to consider a structured approach to making this accessible to a significant number of PMI members.

"How to start" Community of Action playbook

  • PMI UK and Ireland Chapters have had an initial meeting on this theme to share ideas and will be sharing initial output in the near future.

There was also support for other activities including:

  • Virtual events on the theme of Climate Crisis / Sustainability
  • Representing the European Chapter Climate Crisis initiative into the PMI Leadership Institute Meeting (LIM) of Dec 2023
  • Sharing of newsletters etc across Chapters (for example - sharing this article with our colleagues in PMI Northern Italy Chapter)
  • Planting trees
  • UN Environment Program based Systems Thinking
  • Leveraging "Count Us In" as an emissions benefits tracking platform
  • Energy efficiency


Attendees at the event shared the following valuable resource links:




There's a lot happening right now relating to the Climate Crisis, this will only increase as we move towards COP28 and beyond.

Whilst some of the news is concerning, we can maintain a positive perspective by doing what we can to tackle the Crisis - "Together We Can".

As always, I welcome any feedback & comments on this and my other articles.