There is a great article by the Association for Project Management on what the project management profession can do to help climate change. These are the three key points of the article, followed by why these points are so important:
- “The ‘single point of accountability’ is a foundation concept behind all project management: it is missing in much that has been proposed re: climate change.”
This is so true. So far, we have seen no single point of accountability (SPA), no project manager, no project champions, no one who is taking a clear lead with a plan of action for the entire project. Yes, the project to tackle climate change is at a seemingly insurmountable scale, involving probably tens of thousands of key people at the minimum, but there has to be one plan of action everyone can agree to follow. Otherwise we risk taking actions that are not directed at our goal or that may be more expensive than they need to be.
- “The likelihood of these big R&D projects producing technologies that would reduce the rate of global temperature [change] is minimal.”
There are many who hope for technological solutions to be developed because new, cleaner means of energy production seems easier to develop than trying to change human behavior. Even changing the behavior of a minor portion of nearly 8 billion people who emit the greatest amount of greenhouse gases seems insurmountable. Thus we hope for carbon capture and storage (CCS) advances, nuclear fusion, improving photovoltaic cell capability, new battery technologies, and new developments in small modular (nuclear) reactors.
In the process of hoping, we must recognize we are not personally doing…hope is directed at others to effect change and is a sign of inaction on our part. Yes, not all of us have access to or the knowledge to work with small modular or nuclear fusion reactors, but we can directly support those who do if there is an infrastructure in place to shuttle funds to those people. If there is not an infrastructure, one of the tasks of the PM is to create that infrastructure.
- “There is no single integrated climate change strategy in the UK.”
Let that sink in. One of the most developed countries in the world, the UK, has no single integrated climate change strategy. No effective plan that everyone can follow. Can you think of any country that actually has a single integrated strategy? If you can’t, you’re not alone.
Without a single strategy, there is no directed effort. And going back to #1 above, with no single point of accountability, there is no one making sure the best actions are taken to mitigate climate change. Money is at high risk of being needlessly wasted on projects that pad the pockets of those with political agendas rather than going directly to lowering greenhouse gases.