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Professional associations invited to take Climate Change leadership

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vancouver.  West Coast Environmental Law, a non-profit environmental law organization, today released a report – Professionals and Climate Change: How professional associations can get serious about global warming.  This report is perhaps the first in the world to examine the implications of climate change for professional associations regulating the qualifications and activities of resource and planning professionals, such as engineers, biologists, lawyers, architects and others.

West Coast Environmental Law has sent Professionals and Climate Change to over 70 professional associations across Canada inviting them to become climate leaders by specifically recognizing the professional obligations of their members in relation to climate change. 

“Biologists, city planners, foresters, and other professionals are already dealing with the reality of climate change on the ground,” said Andrew Gage, the report’s lead author.  “Our report highlights how professional associations can play, and in some cases are playing, a leadership role – giving their members guidance how to address climate-related issues competently and in a way that protects the public.”

“Climate change is an issue that affects all of us, and managing our activities should be a responsibility for all of us – including professionals in all sectors,” agreed Tom Baumann, P.Eng., co-founder of the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. “There is a growing need for expertise in greenhouse gas management and this report provides important recommendations to engage professionals and their associations in ways that can achieve more progress towards managing and limiting the impacts of climate change.” 

The Report identifies some examples of climate leadership already taken by Canadian and international professional associations, but invites professional associations to go further. Professionals and Climate Change challenges professional associations to (among other things):

  • Recognize the urgency of climate change and call for governments to act; 
  • Require members to receive education and training on the implications of climate change for their professional work;
  • Give direction to their members on best practices related to climate change; and
  • Recognize their members’ professional obligations in relation to climate change.

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For more information contact:

Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer and Acting Executive Director at 604-601-2506 (Vancouver) or 250-412-9784 (Victoria). 

Tom Baumann, PEng, Co-founder, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute - (613) 795 1158

Professionals and Climate Change available at http://wcel.org/sites/default/files/publications/Professionals%20and%20Climate%20Change_0.pdf

Click here for a pdf version of this press release