Tackling climate change

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Posted by APM on 14th Jul 2015

Climate changeThe project management community needs to mobilise against climate change.

This was the key message from Professor Peter Morris at last month’s International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) conference at University College London that was supported by APM.

Issuing a challenge and a warning to the project community about climate change Professor Morris said: “Whilst much action is being undertaken at a national level across countries to tackle climate change, our research observed a lack of coordination in developing responses towards implementation, particularly within and across the global, national and regional levels.

This omission could have significant implications due to the seriousness of this global threat to the future of the human species.

“Critically speaking, it appears that humanity is ill-equipped and ill-coordinated in its response to one of the most significant challenges ever to face its future,” added Professor Morris.

The continual debate to the extent and impact of climate change appears to hamper any real co-ordinated action. However, a project management perspective is being offered at the Fusing the Project World conference being held at ITER HQ in France on 4th September 2015.

Steve Wake, APM chairman and conference organiser says: “In short, mankind is living on a finite resource.

“It is a given that depleting resources are being used, transformed and combined to varying effect. However, the utilisation is unequivocal.

“Usage is definable. It is measurable, and it can where necessary be managed, mitigated and modified. These things are the bread and butter of the project management world.”

Professor Morris, having issued the challenge, provides a bridge between IRNOP and the upcoming Fusing the Project World conference. 

He added: “We consider that project, programme and portfolio management (P3M) offers practical tools and approaches to help make sense of planning, organisational and control responses to climate change.

“Beyond the application of P3M, we noted that the very complex challenge of climate change further calls for a renewal and redefinition of the discipline and practice of P3M.

How to manage projects, programmes and portfolios, when faced with a problem that is wicked, unamenable to simple definitions, without timelines, and prone to complex interdependencies? So what novel perspectives are required to potentially adjust P3M to the challenge of climate change?”

The Fusing the Project World event provides 400 people from the global project management community with the opportunity to answer Professor Morris’ challenge and discover the role they can play.

They will learn and raise awareness about ITER and its quest to provide fusion energy for the planet – a safe endless sustainable energy source that can replace the dependency for carbon generated electricity.

Stephen Cowley, head of Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and CEO of United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, who will share the stage at ITER with Professor Morris, said: “One day the world will be powered by fusion. There will be a time when ITER reaches the point of producing its first self-sustained fusion burn. I want to be there because that will be the culmination of my life’s work.

“Just like the first chain reaction in the middle of the second world war when nuclear energy was launched, the first time a controlled fusion burn is done in ITER will be written in the history books, and remembered as a turning point not just for science, but for mankind as a whole.”

Image: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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