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Engage - November 2021

Engineering Zero - a systems approach

Published: 29/11/2021

Screenshot from 'Systems approach to net zero' videoThe Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Engineering Zero programme will use the opportunity presented by COP26 to bring the profession together to advance engineering's contribution to net zero.

Meeting emission reduction targets in the next three decades requires system transition, guided by justice and enabled by engineering. RAEng is producing a series of video explainers on what this means - this series of five short films will explain why reaching net zero in time requires a new approach to transforming infrastructure, and how to tackle such a complex and broad challenge.

These videos are intended to be a guide for the people across the world who are responsible for delivering on the necessarily ambitious targets to eliminate net emissions from human activities in less than three decades.

The five episodes interrogate in turn what a systems approach to net zero is, how we can apply it to transforming our infrastructure systems of transport, energy and built environment, and finally how we bring this understanding together into a systemic transition to net zero.

Reaching net zero by 2050 means we need new ways of working to transform and develop our high-carbon systems of infrastructure; ways that engage everyone from local communities, government, industry and academia in an organised system transition to a net zero economy - a transition that not only helps avert disaster but also brings real benefits.

The explainers have been produced as part of the Academy’s Engineering Zero campaign – using the opportunity of COP26 to advance engineering’s contribution to net zero.

The first episode interrogates what 'net zero' requires, the risks of a disordered transition to sustainable societies, and introduce the fundamentals of systems thinking and how we can use it to manage and benefit from a transformation of our vital and interconnected networks of infrastructure.

Watch 'Episode 1 - What is a systems approach to net zero?' on the RAEng website