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Engineers Australia announces Climate Smart Engineering Conference plenary program

Engineers Australia 4 mins read

Australia’s most respected engineering and climate experts will headline the 2023 Climate Smart Engineering Conference, (CSE23), Engineers Australia’s flagship event to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 29 and 30 November 2023.

“Since its foundation in 2021, CSE has become a focal point for debate and knowledge sharing. Last year, CSE22 explored the ways engineers can navigate the complexities of achieving net zero emissions and drive the transition to a clean energy economy,” said Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew AO.

“The CSE23 plenary and technical programs will bring you the latest in world-leading views and engaging debate on solutions to address climate change, responding to extreme events, biodiversity loss, boosting the circular economy and upholding the principles of sustainable practices in engineering.

“As creative problem solvers and systems thinkers, engineers are at the forefront of the fight against climate change. The profession stewards the delivery of mitigation and adaptation strategies to address the worst impacts of global warming and innovates to deploy new technologies for a clean fuel and energy future.”  

Plenary program
Wednesday 29 November. Be bold – change, accelerate and scale to meet net zero.

The time to lead with courage is now. 
Dr Margie Warrell, Best-selling Author of Stop Playing Safe
There is no singular pathway or roadmap to creating a more sustainable world. Forging new ground and finding smarter solutions requires courage and taking smart risks, not just safe ones. Courage to lead the change ahead of policy makers. Courage to set a bold vision with a big why and take action amid the unknowns. And courage to accelerate learning so we can adapt, iterate, and move forward faster, together. This session will help you identify where your fear of getting it wrong is keeping you from making it right.

Navigating transition and transformation in all parts of our economies

Zoe Whitton, Managing Director and Head of Impact, Pollination
The next few decades are likely to be dominated by transitions. Across our energy, food, transport, and industrial systems, the business models, technologies, and approaches which support us today will have to transform purposefully to keep us safe from climate change, and to minimise it. The change in finance across the past decade is an example of this transformation in action, with the sector going from a barrier to a facilitator of transition. This session will propose that we need to drive similar transformations in other parts of our economies to reach our transition goals and will outline major priorities for change.

The crucial role of technology and innovation on the path to net zero 

Dr Larry Marshall, former CEO, CSIRO
Join Larry Marshall in conversation with Romilly Madew as they explore the challenges facing engineers in realising real world solutions for mitigating climate change and achieving net zero. Based on this experience, he will reflect on what engineers, business leaders and government should be considering when it comes to technology and climate change, the barriers that are holding innovation back, and draw on examples where this is happening well.

The circular economy as an accelerator
Lisa McLean, CEO, Circular Australia

Lisa will explore how Australia is driving the evolution to a circular economy and outline the advantages for businesses who embed circularity as a core principle, referencing some engineering case studies.

Prof John Thwaites AM, Chair, Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Chair, Climateworks Centre
Explore the biggest opportunities for circular economy intervention in circular design, built environment and innovation. Are we on track for a more circular economy by 2030?  

Panel discussion - How can organisations overcome the engineering skills shortage that might inhibit progress?
Kane Thornton, Chief Executive, Clean Energy Council
Dr Damian Oliver, Assistant Secretary, Workforce Futures Branch, Jobs and Skills Australia, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
Amy Lezala Zahr, Chief Engineer – Rail, Department of Transport and Planning   
Paul Williams, Managing Director of Mining and Energy, WSP
Moderator: Jane MacMaster, Chief Engineer, Engineers Australia
Australia is facing its third engineering skills shortage in the last twenty years, exacerbated by the demands of the infrastructure pipeline, recent border closures, and the new national priorities of the clean energy transition and net zero objectives.

Join this panel of experts and stakeholders for an in-depth discussion on the ways forward for addressing the current, emerging, and future engineering skill gaps, with a focus on education, recruitment and retention, skilled migrant participation, and demand forecasting.

Thursday 30 November - The energy transition – the time is now.

The next generation’s hopes for the future
Draw inspiration from a panel of Gen-Z graduate engineers and high school students sharing their vision for a climate-resilient future and how best to achieve net-zero. With the climate challenge set to dominate their professional careers, hear how this generation are harnessing their skills, ingenuity, and voice to shape a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.

Calling for engineers to work on the largest economic transition since the dawn of agriculture

Dr Alan Finkel AC, former Chief Scientist of Australia, Chair of Stile Education, Advisor to government and companies on clean energy technologies
The battle for climate science to be understood and accepted has been won.  However, the battle to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change has a long way to go.  The strategy is clear: use zero-emissions electricity, hydrogen, and synthesised hydrogen compounds to replace the fossil fuels that are responsible for nearly three quarters of global emissions.  Engineers will design the technological solutions and their deployment.  Engineering education and practices must reflect this responsibility to minimise adverse impacts without shifting them elsewhere. 

A just transition - embracing Indigenous approaches in the energy transition

Ruby Heard, Director, Alinga Energy Consulting
The clean energy transition offers the world an opportunity to reinvent energy systems and rebuild them around the concepts of environment, sustainability, and equity. The decentralisation of energy generation gives us the ability to redistribute power, in all senses of the word. However, this is not guaranteed by renewable energy technologies. The underlying paradigms must also shift. Therefore, we ask not just for an energy transition, but for an energy transformation that embraces new approaches to all aspects of the energy delivery system. Indigenous values and knowledges have much to offer as we reimagine and create the energy system of the future.

The engineering mindset – making change happen

Eytan Lenko, CEO, Boundless Earth
Join Eytan as he explores the challenges organizations facing in decarbonizing, and how, as engineers, we can be central to creating change-making organisations and deploying a systems approach to problems especially at a time when it feels like ‘everyone is an engineer’. The session will look at what needs to be done, what levers can be pulled to make change happen, and how to bring people on the journey.

View the full program and register now:



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