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Climate change considerations for engineers

Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Will dealing with climate change become a model code of practice for engineers? (Elements of this image furnished by NASA)

The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) consists of national, international , and affiliated engineering societies around the world. The American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) is the U.S. representative to the WFEO. The WFEO’s Standing Committee on Engineering and the Environment (CEE) has completed a new WFEO Model Code of Practice dealing with the principles of climate change adaptation for engineers. The CEE is accepting feedback on the review draft in order to prepare an approval draft to the Executive Council and Executive Board of WFEO.

According to the WFEO Model Code of Practice, when dealing with the principles of climate change adaptation for engineers, it is not enough for engineers to rely on the codes, standards, and professional guidelines in determining the impact of climate change. Instead, engineers are expected to keep pace with developments in climate change analyses rather than basing their solutions on historic weather information. This may expose engineers to future allegations that they failed to meet the standard of care when a facility is impacted by adverse weather. It is important that practitioners review this model code of practice and provide feedback to the CEE through the AAES about the proposed principles. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) has already provided feedback to the AAES asking that the draft be published as a white paper instead of a Model Code of Practice and that the document be edited so that it is clear that the publication is not intended to establish a new standard of care.

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