25 March 2013

Chemical engineers back climate warning

govt

IChemE ceo David Brown says that the engineering community should unequivocally back UK government chief scientific adviser John Beddington’s parting call for climate change to be taken more seriously.

Beddington, who steps down from the post this week, says that there is already enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for there to be more floods and droughts over the next 25 years and that there is a “need for urgency” in tackling climate change.

Speaking to the BBC, Beddington also said that evidence climate change is happening is completely unequivocal and warned of long delays in carbon dioxide levels impacting upon weather patterns, claiming the next 20 or 30 years will be determined by current activity.

Brown says that governments must work with industry to tackle the issue: “This is a vital call to arms for engineers and scientists around the world, not just the UK. The sobering truth is that we only have one planet, one atmosphere, and politicians are treating it in an incredibly irresponsible way.

“Governments and industry must work together to accelerate research and application on a large scale of efficiency improvements, cleaner and renewable energy, including nuclear, and the introduction of new low carbon materials and processes – or future generations will condemn us for our obstinate folly,” adds Brown.

IChemE’s new technical strategy Chemical Engineering Matters ascertains that there is no universal solution to meeting growth in global energy demand. The strategy highlights that whilst oil, gas and other fossil fuel assets will maintain a central position in the world’s energy economy for decades, there must be a shift towards decarbonisation and sustainable energy use.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).