IME Report on Climate Adaptation in Different Industries

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Climate adaptation IME’s Report Shows How the Industry Could Withstand Rising Temperatures and Heatwaves

A report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, “Adapting industry to withstand rising temperatures and future heatwaves”, published on April 2023, explores how the industry and its workforce could adapt and address the increasing temperatures and prolonged heatwaves caused by climate change.

The report says that through the efforts of the IPCC, UNFCCC, and the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, engineers and their clients are becoming aware of the deficiencies of infrastructure and built environment to the present and future climate because their designs were based on historical weather patterns. Hence, there is a need to update national and international standards and design codes to include shifts in the weather pattern because of climate change.

To do so, engineers should make use of the available science, best practices in the field, and climate projections, encourage and apply research to ensure that future climate of rising temperatures is mainstreamed into the whole design, maintenance, up to the decommissioning of the infrastructure and equipment, in other words, incorporating climate adaptation in design.

The report includes case studies of industries experiencing extreme heat, how it affects their equipment, and their decisions to address the problems. Other case studies show how they can recover waste heat from their industries, resulting in savings in energy and C02 emissions.

One of the case studies is a glass foundry in Yorkshire that invested in a smart local energy system (SLES) to help drive clean energy and decarbonisation in the industry. The plant decided to recover the waste heat from their cooling water, integrating it with a solar PV farm to provide power to warm the houses, around 2,500 in the nearby borough. The result shows that recovered heat from their plant could save 5,241 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year on average, helping decarbonise the industry.

Warming temperatures will have a broad and complex impact on industries, their personnel – their productivity and health, buildings, assets, and equipment. Industry leaders, professionals, governments, and academia must cooperate to protect workers and assets against extreme heat.

Preparing and adapting to a warming world will be vital for the successful function and operation of the industry and makes recommendations on how to achieve them.

Below are just broad statements of their recommendations.

  1. Industries need to recognise that increased ambient temperatures will continue to impact their personnel, buildings, and physical assets leading to unrest, operational shutdowns, and lower levels of economic production. Avoiding these outcomes would entail organisations developing and implementing adaptation plans for people, plants, and equipment and increasing their resilience to extreme heat.
  2. Governments must acknowledge the potential productivity impact of extreme heat on industries which also supports local and national economies and therefore should support industry’s adaptation through – raising awareness of the heat-related effects, ensuring that policies reduce exposure to climate change impacts, reviewing and updating building codes and regulations to future higher ambient temperatures, and extreme and prolonged heatwaves, etc.
  3. “The engineering profession worldwide is central to achieving a society well adapted to future climate change and, in this regard, engineers need to help the industry prepare for the potential impacts of increased temperatures.”
  4. “Academia and skills development bodies must recognise that current technical training and education provision for engineers was designed on the assumption of a climate-stable future, in which temperatures are like the recent past”. Hence changes are needed, which include ensuring that basic climate change knowledge is taught throughout all engineering disciplines, making engineering education and skills training more accessible, relevant, responsive, and transformative to attract and retain people from diverse backgrounds into the professions and equip engineers with the ability to work and collaborate internationally.

You can also watch the webinar below:


Adapting Industry to Withstand Rising Temperatures and Future Heatwaves. (2023 April). Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Retrieved from

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