Engineering expertise key to tackling climate change, says Academy

August 10, 2007 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Britain, Climate action, Engineering, Low carbon economy, Optimism, Royal Academy of Engineering, Simplicity, UK | Leave a comment

Below the video clip is a News Release from Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering that could do with a wider airing.

Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the United Kingdom. Its fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for The Academy’s activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, The Royal Academy of Engineering provides independent and impartial advice to Government; works to secure the next generation of engineers; and provides a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

The News Release relates to the UK government’s Draft Climate Change Bill. According to the intent stated on the Defra website,

“The Bill will introduce a clear, credible, long-term framework for the UK to achieve its goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ensure steps are taken towards adapting to the impacts of climate change.”

David Miliband announced the DCCB here:

The period of consultation has now closed. Periodically I notice references to commentary on the consultation process and the Draft Bill itself. The following is one example of several summaries mentioned in news reports this month. The emphasis on simplifying and securing the framework is, I think, crucial. It is always easy to make solutions more complicated, from an engineering and a political standpoint; far more difficult to strip down to a clear, simple framework of mechanisms that still works as required and appeals to people, enabling public acceptance of the transition to a low carbon economy:

03 August 2007

Engineering expertise key to tackling climate change, says Academy

The Royal Academy of Engineering, which promotes the technological welfare of the country, welcomes the recommendation by the Joint Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill that engineering and environmental expertise will be key to the success of the new Committee on Climate Change proposed in the Bill. The Academy urges the Government to ensure that sound engineering advice is available to the new Committee.

The Joint Committee, reporting today (3 August) is also right to point out the potential danger of using foreign emissions credits in order to meet UK carbon budgetary requirements. It is imperative that the decarbonisation of the UK economy is not delayed, whilst still maintaining the competitiveness of UK industry.

The success of the Climate Change Bill depends on overcoming two significant challenges: in engineering to deliver the required portfolio of diverse technologies; and in society generally to gain widespread public support for achieving a low carbon economy.

Dr Sue Ion, Vice President of The Royal Academy of Engineering says:

“The Government has set extremely demanding targets for reducing domestic carbon dioxide emissions by 26-32 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. In order to achieve this, the framework of mechanisms to control emissions must be simplified and secured for 15 to 20 years. This is crucial to increase understanding of the issues and to give private industry the necessary confidence to make large capital investments and commit funds to researching technical solutions.

“We need greater coherence in Government policy if the campaign against climate change is to be successful. Even after the re-organisation of Government departments, responsibility for various parts of energy policy and climate change is divided and the degree of inter-departmental cohesion is unclear. Clear Cabinet level responsibility and accountability is required for issues as important as climate change and energy security, as is adherence to a long term plan to deliver the required objectives.”

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