IET
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Topic Title: If it ain't broke don't fix it
Topic Summary: Should engineers control the eco-system?
Created On: 25 April 2012 03:35 PM
Status: Post and Reply
Related E&T article: Should engineers control the eco-system?
Linear : Threading : Single : Branch
1 2 Next Last unread
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
 25 April 2012 03:35 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



morry

Posts: 2
Joined: 03 December 2002

The planet earth is fine as it is; no rise in global temperatures for 15 years and not a scrap of scientific evidence (apart from dubious computer models) that catastrophic warming is just around the corner.
The idea that we need to artificially reduce global temperatures with a geoengineered dimmer switch on this bitter April day fills me with dread. Up go our heating bills with more winter deaths and more energy consumed just to keep warm and generating yet more CO2.
All the glib talk in the article about "removing CO2 from the atmosphere" is also worrying; don't they know that if that happens nothing will grow and we will therefore all die?
Jack Thompson

Edited: 27 April 2012 at 01:55 PM by IET Moderator
 25 April 2012 03:45 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



StewartTaylor

Posts: 99
Joined: 18 January 2003

Can't work out if this is what you really think or if you just want to wind up the Climate Change evangelists?

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 26 April 2012 08:43 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



ectophile

Posts: 541
Joined: 17 September 2001

1998 was an exceptionally warm year. However there have been warmer years sence then, so claiming that there has been no increase in 15 years is somewhat disingenuous.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/con...stemp_2011_graph_lrg[1

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 27 April 2012 01:32 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: StewartTaylor
Can't work out if this is what you really think or if you just want to wind up the Climate Change evangelists?


In any case, given the Met Office, NASA, the US EPA, the UN etc etc etc on one side, and some bloke on a message board on the other (sorry, but that's all most of us are here), I think I know which I'll go with.

(P.S. I am perfectly happy to admit that I do not understand the science, I am an electronics engineer, not an atmospheric physicist. However, if 99.99% of a scientific community believes that something looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I am happy to trust them to identify it as a member of the Anatidae family.)

(P.P.S. As I tried to explain to a previous poster, if anyone here has genuine evidence that climate change does not exist please present it to the relevent authorities, they will welcome it with open arms because they cannot afford to combat climate change and would be delighted for it to go away.)

(P.P.P.S. "The conspiracy theorists are plotting against me...")

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 29 April 2012 01:15 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: amillar
In any case, given the Met Office, NASA, the US EPA, the UN etc etc etc on one side, and some bloke on a message board on the other (sorry, but that's all most of us are here), I think I know which I'll go with.

As I recall there was some 'bloke on a blog' warning of a pending financial crisis when the world's leading governments, financial institutions and financial authorities were saying we have 'abolished boom and bust' and can grow grow grow. I think at the same time the world's 3 primary credit rating agencies were giving AAA ratings to USA subprime mortgages. I do not discount what NASA and co say but also I do not discount what 'some bloke on a blog' says either. Many 'cimate change' scientists have been revising their initial predictions, because in reality that is all they are/were. I think we should take care of our environment but we also need to have global agreements whereby we all work together. The latter seems to be difficult to achieve because individual personal interests seem to take over.
(P.S. I am perfectly happy to admit that I do not understand the science, I am an electronics engineer, not an atmospheric physicist. However, if 99.99% of a scientific community believes that something looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I am happy to trust them to identify it as a member of the Anatidae family.)

Where is your proof that '99.99%' of the scientific community supports what you are trying to suggest? Do you think someone who professes to be an 'engineer' should just start quoting figures which cannot be proven? I personally think there are some serious concerns with regards to the care of our environment but when those concerns lead us to over play our communications then who is to say that we are professional and intelligent enough to deal with those concerns in a proper way?
(P.P.S. As I tried to explain to a previous poster, if anyone here has genuine evidence that climate change does not exist please present it to the relevent authorities, they will welcome it with open arms because they cannot afford to combat climate change and would be delighted for it to go away.)

The climate changes in every second of every day and so how can someone prove it does not? You write as though 'climate change' is suddenly a negative thing, but if it did not change we would not have the conditions we have now. The real issue is whether or not the climate will change in such a way as to create conditions which are significantly less suitable for life. I think we have to consider the predictions which scientists make and proceed in a sensible way.

But in answer to the point you made, surely if '99.99%' of the scientific community and NASA and co are predicting as you say, i.e., if the evidence is as clear as you suggest and which you will also follow, then 'they' and 'you' cannot afford not to combat climate change if 'they' wish to maintain a planet which can sustain our current way of life? In order to 'combat climate' change what significant differences have you and your family made to your lives over and above those which were imposed upon you by your government and/or local authority and/or by price increases? I know quite a lot of people and based on my discussions with them I have not seen them making any real changes other than having to better segregate waste, insulate their homes better to reduce the cost of the gas and electric and take care about their travel due to increased fuel costs etc.

The issue with 'global warming' however is that we must take it seriously now because it is one of those things which if proved to be true would be too late to do anything about at the time.

Regards.
 30 April 2012 10:28 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I hoped it was reasonably obvious from the tone of my e-mail that 99.99% was an of-the-cuff statement, if that was not clear then that was my fault. But I still stick to my point that whilst sometimes a non-expert is right, and the experts are wrong, it really doesn't happen very often in scientific matters. The one person has got to have fantastically good evidence to overturn the concensus view. And this matter is so important that if they have such evidence they should not be publishing it here, they should be publishing it in a journal where someone relevant might actually notice it. Publishing it here is, let's face it, whinging down at the pub.

As I've said many times before, I'm not interested in discussing climate change on these forums, I know very little about the science which makes it pretty pointless. But I am concerned if, as an engineering profession, we are unable to comprehend how the scientific method works, or, even worse, we condemm it. If we cannot treat other professional communities with respect, what does that say about our own professionalism?

Postings asking if anyone here can explain a scientific issue, fine. Postings saying (more-or-less) "these so-called experts don't know what they're talking about" I would suggest are fair game for a robust response.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 01 May 2012 03:15 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

I agree with morry. Exactly what problem do we need to fix with the climate? Crop yields are at an all time high.Tropical cyclone energy at an all time low. The Sahel is greening. It's a shame there's been no further temperature rise this century because warming seems to be entirely beneficial to the vast majority of plants, animals and humans on the planet. Unfortunately, with the sun entering a quiet phase it looks like we'll be seeing further cooling this decade. But looking on the bright side, at least the cooling should put a stop to the $Billions being wasted on canute like schemes to halt natural climate change.
 02 May 2012 04:03 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



yralasruoyyapi

Posts: 4
Joined: 02 May 2012

Have you actually read anything that isn't oil company propaganda in the last 10 years?
"Global Warming" stopped being discussed a long time ago, except by journalists who are too lazy to be bothered with the science and just want a nice controversial headline. It's CLIMATE CHANGE we are talking about here.

IF - and it's a high liklihood and high consequence if - climate change occurs the temperature could go wildy up or down, the one thing it is unlikely to do is stay in the goldilocks zone we need for human survival.

Any quality engineer knows that a single random sample of data tells you nothing, you need to look at trends.

We made this mess. We need to sort this out.

Edited: 02 May 2012 at 05:47 PM by yralasruoyyapi
 02 May 2012 08:09 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: yralasruoyyapi
"Global Warming" stopped being discussed a long time ago, except by journalists who are too lazy to be bothered with the science and just want a nice controversial headline. It's CLIMATE CHANGE we are talking about here.

If it stopped being discussed some time ago then please explain http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns...mate_change_index.html and 'Your neighbourhood may not feel like a disaster movie today, but we're already seeing the impacts of global warming'.
Any quality engineer knows that a single random sample of data tells you nothing, you need to look at trends.

But trends over how long, in your opinion?
We made this mess. We need to sort this out.

Which mess?
Regards.
 03 May 2012 05:54 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I've always wondered what the exact definition was: NASA have a very nice description of "climate change" and "global warming" here. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/ear...y_any_other_name.html

For a fleeting moment I thought maybe this was one person arguing with himself under two different aliases! (The bizarre and rather unproductive conversation in one of the other threads last night reminded me of Monty Python's "is this a five minute argument" sketch.)

Anyway, I'm glad I found the NASA site, they've got a really good (if rather depressing) sub-site on the issue at http://climate.nasa.gov/

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 03 May 2012 09:43 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Andy, if we are to take the evidence seriously then what are your suggested potential engineering solutions to the potential climate change issues we face? Or are more radical population solutions required?

Regards.
 04 May 2012 01:47 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



joeduddy

Posts: 4
Joined: 21 August 2002

The solutions are to stop "forcing" the climate and to adapt to any climate change which cannot be avoided.

To stop forcing the climate the engineering solutions are energy efficiency and low/no carbon energy. These would help to make our population less unsustainable.

Population solutions are only relevant to the extent that they could avoid or defer the normal and unpalatable methods of collapse of unsustainable populations (war, pestilence and famine)
 09 May 2012 11:24 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



BryanLeyland

Posts: 45
Joined: 09 November 2001

The world has not warmed significantly in the last 10 to 15 years. Some people want to argue about whether it is warmed tiny bit or not. But the fact remains that prediction was that it would warm by a large amount and it hasn't - even though carbon dioxide concentrations have risen steadily. This fact proves that man-made carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous global warming.

People claim that the hiatus in warming is due to "natural causes". But what are they? Why didn't the climate models that are supposed to be so accurate, predict this happening? Why can't the climate models predict an El Niño that is the largest atmospheric disturbance in the world?

This simple explanation is that the climate changes naturally. And if you look at what the sunspots and the sunspot cycle tells us, the chances are that the world is entering a period of cooling. And history tells us that warming is good and cooling is very bad indeed.

So the futile attempts to change the climate and stop warming, will squander huge amounts of money and resources that will be needed in a cooling world. Absolute madness.

-------------------------
BryanLeyland
 10 May 2012 12:41 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for diviner.
diviner

Posts: 44
Joined: 14 July 2003

If the world has not warmed significantly, why have so many glaciers retreated by so much, why has the "North West Passage" opened up for the first time in a very long time, and why have so many ice sheets retreated by so much?

-------------------------
Ian Gordon, MIET CITP MBCS
 10 May 2012 11:31 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



BryanLeyland

Posts: 45
Joined: 09 November 2001

a) Glaciers: because the world has warmed as it comes out of the little ice age. Lots of uncertainty as it is very hard to measure and few glaciers are monitored accurately.

b) NW passage was first navigated in 1905 and there was a two way transit in the 1940s'

c) We have reliable records of ice sheets for about 35 years. Arctic is average at the moment after a small decline in 2007. Antarctic is slowly increasing. Neither are behaving oddly.

Even if true, tall they might indicate is some warming. NOTHING about whether it is natural or man-made.

-------------------------
BryanLeyland
 09 June 2012 01:46 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for raymondfcragg.
raymondfcragg

Posts: 22
Joined: 18 January 2003

The reason, in my humble opinion, that the concept of Global Warming is ridiculed is in the way it is put over to the public. From what I have read global warming is a natural phenomena that was in part responsible for the last ice age.
The way I feel it should be represented, is not to try and put the concept that we, the human race, is solely responsible for warming but to address the issue as a natural occurrence but, and this is the main argument, we, the human race are helping the process.
We are not solely responsible. If man did not exist the earth would go through periods of warming, and no doubt cooling.
The concept is I think being misrepresented and hence it is ridiculed by the public.
 10 June 2012 01:03 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: westonpa
Andy, if we are to take the evidence seriously then what are your suggested potential engineering solutions to the potential climate change issues we face? Or are more radical population solutions required?

Sorry for not replying, I wasn't deliberately ignoring this; I just don't go on these threads very often as it's really not my area of expertise.

Hence: I dunno, but I'm not sure that we can engineer our way out of the root cause, I see it as far more of a social problem. Engineers can produce low emission solutions (personally I'm in favour of improving efficiency so we consume less in the first place), but if nobody wants them because "there isn't a problem" there's not much we can do.

I would certainly agree that overpopulation is part of the issue, but last time I looked at carbon emissions by country it wasn't the most populous countries that had the highest emissions, it was the US by a long way (although maybe China has caught up by now?).

I do not look forward with huge optimism to the future faced by my children's children (if they should have any). And, to be honest, even if in the UK we could reverse this anti-science ("so-called experts") view that seems to be gaining ground - which is, of course, what my posts on these threads are actually about - I'm not honestly convinced how much impact this would really have on the world stage.

Apologies for the pretty depressing posting! The good news is that there are some extremely competent people working at very high levels to try to address these issues (which is why rants on these forums from either side are actually pretty irrelevant); unfortunately democratic governments have their hands tied as electorates simply will not let them spend enough to seriously address the issues, whilst undemocratic governments don't care! (P.S. I am most definitely a democrat, but I believe in an informed democracy.)

I am a great fan of the highly entertaining book "The Peter Principle" with its core message about corporate life: "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence". The last chapter of the original book (published in 1969) more-or-less starts with the wonderful paragraph
The more conceited members of the race think in terms of an endless ascent - or promotion ad infinitum. I would point out that, sooner or later, man must reach his level of life-incompetence (author's emphasis)


Hmmm...

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 10 June 2012 02:27 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

All these principles give us cause to think and so in that respect they are a good thing and contribute something positive. As we know there are a whole range of reasons why people 'rise' to where they do, or otherwise. I prefer the principle that it is actually a group which rises to its level of incompetence.

"I would certainly agree that overpopulation is part of the issue, but last time I looked at carbon emissions by country it wasn't the most populous countries that had the highest emissions, it was the US by a long way (although maybe China has caught up by now?)."

The problem for China and India is not where they are now but where they would be if ALL their people have a reasonable standard of living. It has already been calculated that we humans cannot build energy generation quick enough to supply the energy which would be required......we are already decades behind. 50 years ago it did not matter about the 'poor' because they did not know what the 'rich' had but now with the advent of TV all is that is needed is one TV for 100 people to crowd around and then they see what the other lot have and want some of it for themselves, and why not! China will not contain 1 billion poor people for ever and neither will India and so they will require more energy, which will not be available in sufficient quantities. In the past we had world wars and the 'male' population was significantly cut and hence slower population growth. Now we cannot have a world war due to the advent of nuclear weapons. Interestingly those weapons may have prevented wars which overall will lead to a much bigger problem in the future....let's hope not.

I tend to think it is more likely we will mess around with genetics and introduce a change which takes a hold and does some serious damage....nature's had billions of years to make its mistakes and get to us and so had a long time to learn.

Growth is not sustainable forever and no one is dealing with that fact.....even today all the politicians are talking about growth as the solution to our economic woes. We build more roads and humans expand into them roads and so we build more and we expand more.....well the whole world cannot be covered in roads. The point is that whilst we can improve energy efficiencies and build more power generation we also need to tackle the 'human' issue and find a way to arrive in a position where we are happy with what we have and can maintain that without having to keep growing. The 'Climate' solution needs to be much much wider, in my opinion. I cannot see any politician solving it because today's lot are pretty much useless and none of them have the courage to tackle the real issues. Obama came into office offering to sprinkle magic fairy dust on the world's issues and he has not even managed to make any progress in the Middle East. No, I think we are going to need an 'Einstein', 'MLK' of a different kind and who can raise the issues and lead the world to a more sustainable solution. At this time we are building to tools to allow that person to be able to communicate to the wider audience when they are ready.

I am positive about the future but more because I am confident that someone will step up to the challenge, and in the meantime we need to keep working in the things such as efficiencies etc.

Regards
 31 July 2012 02:49 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for hazeljones71.
hazeljones71

Posts: 1
Joined: 31 July 2012

Hi users,

I have this one question in mind, if the engineers really have the solution in dealing with our ecosystem?

Thanks,
Hazel
 02 August 2012 09:16 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



MHK

Posts: 17
Joined: 29 July 2011

In reality noone really knows whether climate change is a real threat or not and it will not be until some time into the future when any implications are fully known - I reality this will probably not be within our lifetime. Regardless of the arguments surrounding climate change there are too real questions:

    Is the lack on intervention worth the risk when we have the opportunity to address its

    Should we not all be looking at incorporating sustainable design to protect our limited resources and limit any potential damage to our environment


Technology to reduce carbon emissions is available - no single technology will be responsible for the reduction in carbon emissions but rather it will be the appropriate selection of technology to suit the application.

In reality over the coming years this is likely to be driven by security of supply a change in individuals attitutes and behaviours to the environment and commercial constraints.

Regards

MHK
Statistics

See Also:



FuseTalk Standard Edition v3.2 - © 1999-2014 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.