NEMO Working Group Advocacy and PA publishes paper on museum climate action and policy

Following up on NEMO’s recent report on museums in the climate crisis, the NEMO Working Group Advocacy and Public Affairs (PA) shares the extended version of Henry McGhie’s text “Mind the [climate policy and action] gaps”. In this piece, he elaborates further on the topic and describes the challenges and opportunities for museums to take action and join the sustainable transition.

The NEMO report Museums in the climate crisis - Recommendations for the sustainable transition of Europe, published in November 2022, reflects the status quo of European museums in the climate crisis. The report includes seven key recommendations for policy makers and the sector that will help tap the full potential of museums as contributors and allies in the sustainable transition of Europe. Henry McGhie of Curating Tomorrow opens the report with an introduction that explains how museums can support a wide range of activities that will contribute to climate action.

In this expanded version of the introduction Mind the [climate policy and action] gaps, developed for the NEMO Working Group Advocacy and PA, Henry McGhie goes into detail about how museums can get started with climate-related activities to truly make a difference, and the factors hindering museums to take these steps. He also explains how museums themselves contribute to carbon emission and suggests ways to reduce while still caring for collections and developing activities for visitors. To this regard he makes a case for more transparent sustainability reporting principles and practices.

Furthermore, McGhie explains how museums relate to climate actions and policy frameworks. For instance, the Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, adopted at COP26 in 2021, helps the museum sector and policy makers align their work and together strive towards shared goals. The Programme even refers specifically to the key role that museums, along with other types of institutions and organisations, can make to supporting climate empowerment everywhere.

He closes the text with “Climate action – in museums or anywhere else – must mean action, that is, reducing emissions, supporting others to reduce theirs, adapting to climate change and helping others do the same, and building climate justice locally and globally”.