Artur Brito: Slow carbon progress in the past is now changing

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As COP27 targets outcomes, Artur Brito (AB) of TPF Engenharia says we must invest in clean energy but accept inflation makes that harder.  

IG: As COP 27 focuses attention on practical climate actions and outcomes, are we making sufficient progress on meeting global and local ambitions for decarbonisation?

AB: “Over the last decade, the world as well as the engineering consulting industry have discussed decarbonisation a lot. However, the discussion has been centred in the aspirational area, where we all wanted to increase the actions taken, but without many practical results.

“Despite the slow pace, this time was relevant to show the importance of the subject to the leaders of the companies, as well as to the younger generations. In the last couple of years, however, this reality is changing, and we’ve started to see more and more decarbonisation actions and projects and as COP27 turns the attention to the practical issues and solutions, we take a big step forward. So, there was not enough progress over the last decade and that means we need to boost the action taken in the next years to meet our local and global decarbonisation ambitions.”

IG: Who or what are the key barriers or ‘blockers’ to faster climate action?

AB: “I believe that there are two main barriers to faster climate action, financial and political. Regarding the financial barrier, the sustainable solutions must present a better cost-benefit ratio to be implemented on a large scale and that is one of the biggest challenges of the industry.

“When it comes to the political barrier, the government must be a driver to accelerate climate action and turn this will into legislation. Some ways of doing that are making sustainable solutions mandatory or including a sustainable regard in taxes, such as taxing cars by its emissions.”

IG: How important is it that we establish comprehensive and trusted carbon calculation across every part of the infrastructure industry?

AB: “Establishing a comprehensive and trusted carbon calculation across the productive chain is fundamental to identifying the objective carbon contribution of projects and solutions. With this measurement, the consulting engineers may take better decisions when choosing different sorts of materials and solutions to be implemented into the projects. Most importantly, it can only be achieved using technology and innovation.”

IG: What is the single most significant action available to industry to achieve climate ambitions?

AB: “As consulting engineers, one significant action is to include sustainable solutions at the feasibility studies phase, and advocate for them alongside the clients, showing their importance to the project and to achieve climate ambitions. They should be introduced to private clients, but more importantly, to the public infrastructure sector.”

Artur Brito is a member of the Future Leader’s Advisory Council, which brings together young industry leaders from across the world.