The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology – an international body that traditionally has represented marine industry and more recently, scientists too – today released its position statement on climate change.
The institute has been somewhat slower than many scientific bodies to release such a statement, perhaps given that much of its member base is in shipping, oil and gas. I was involved in helping to ensure the scientific accuracy of the statement, and I joined a panel discussion at the institute this morning, together with oceanographer Ralph Rayner of the London School of Economics (and various other institutes), Colin Summerhayes (executive director of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research), commercial oceanographer Mark Calverley (who instigated IMarEST’s observer status with the IPCC), Ian Leggett (formerly with Shell, now the head of Metocean Engineering for Europe) and Malcolm Newell (marine engineer and former consultant for Shell, Golar, Exxon Mobil, among others).
I was prepared for a certain amount of scepticism from the audience, which may seem surprising in this day and age (or maybe not, given the recent news coverage). But reassuringly this morning’s discussion suggested that views in the industry are now aligned with the scientific evidence. Without exception, members were keen to discuss the practicalities of how to reduce emissions from shipping, and how to move to a low carbon economy.
The institute now has the task of putting together detailed synopses on the science, impacts, mitigation, and adaptation, with specific relevance to the marine sector. I’ll update as and when those reports come out.