Can Project Management Help Tackle Climate Change? 


Project management skills are useful in almost every industry and according to a PoliticsHome article, “project professionals will play a critical role in our response to climate change and delivering clean growth.” 

Tim Banfield, Chair of the U.K.’s Association for Project Management’s Projecting the Future thought-leadership Group, has said that project management professionals will play a significant role, but he was also keen to stress that there must be a clear way forward within the profession. 

The Impact of Climate Change

The changes in our climate have become clearly evident in recent years. According to the WWF, ‘global warming is likely to be the greatest cause of species extinctions this century.’ More alarmingly, they also say that if the planet’s temperature rises by more than 2oC, we will see most ecosystems struggle to cope. 

Here in the U.S., global warming has had a major impact in terms of weather phenomena. In most parts of the country, while droughts are actually shorter and less frequent, the Southwest has seen drought severity and duration increase. Intensive downpours causing flooding are much more common today, as are heatwaves that have increased in duration and intensity. 

Scientists are now convinced that they have found evidence to suggest that some of the extreme weather that is being experienced throughout the world is causally attributed to human activities. A report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program states that “over the last 50 years, much of the U.S. has seen increases in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, heavy downpours, and in some regions, severe floods and droughts.”

How Project Management Could Help Address the Issue of Climate Change

We all know that climate change has become a major issue for world leaders, with many promising to meet targets for zero greenhouse gas emissions within the next twenty to thirty years. Nevertheless, with the U.N. already warning that we are not doing enough to tackle the problem, they say setting targets is not sufficient. The reality is that there is an “enormous gap between what we need to do and what we’re actually doing.”

So how does project management feature in all of this? Well, to tackle the problem of climate change, many different projects will likely need to be carried out. Each of these projects will require careful planning, executing, and monitoring if they are to prove successful. 

The ‘Projecting the Future’ paper that the APM is working on examines the profession of project management and how ready it is to help address climate change issues. For example, one question being asked is whether project management standards can sufficiently reflect how urgent the issue of climate change is. 

For climate change to be addressed adequately, all the skills of a project manager would need to come to the fore. There is a tendency for some projects to fall behind schedule or run over budget. Climate change projects are critical though and any delay or overruns on cost could have significant repercussions. 

How Can Project Managers Do Their Jobs Better? 

Even the most organized project manager can struggle with workload from time to time. To alleviate this problem if you are a project manager, you have to ensure that your project manager skills are seen in the best light. To this end, it might be worth using a software program that has been designed to help team members work as efficiently as possible. 

Software developers such as LiquidPlanner in Seattle provide resource-driven scheduling technology as part of their project management software programs. This can help boost the confidence of team members as they quickly and effortlessly achieve their goals. Hopefully some of these goals will be connected to addressing climate change.