Part 1.Eden or New Jerusalem: Politicians, the motor industry and the climate emergency

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Climate Emergency

Politicians, climate scientists and activists, certain that they have special knowledge about the world that demands urgent, focused attention, turn to increasingly loud, scary, and simplistic solutions to the task of transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy to avoid further global warming. While they seek to re-engineer society to force broad changes in consumption and production patterns in the name of such meaningless slogans as “climate emergency” or”net-zero by 2025″, qualified engineers and scientists are solving the tough questions that will allow the world to actually make the changes required. Behind the noise, there is a clash of philosophies. On the one hand, there are those who wish to return to an-earlier, simpler life. They would like to convince the world to embrace a journey to a new version of the ‘Garden of Eden’. The scientists, engineers and managers have a very different destination in mind – a New Jerusalem, where sophisticated technical solutions master the global warming challenge. This first post draws distinctions between the two views. The second looks at the progress that the technologists have made and asks whether the politicians and activists have even taken a look.

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Part 2. Eden or New Jerusalem: The Roadmap

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Climate Emergency

Politicians are under pressure to speed up the transition to zero-emission vehicles and a carbon-free economy. Ardent climate activists want legislation enshrined to remove greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Why not? The climate scientists say that, without these ambitious timelines, the world is committed to irreversible climate change. However, right they are, there are still substantial technical problems to be resolved to switch to a green economy without destroying the livelihoods of countless people. This post describes just a few of the efforts that governments, scientists and engineers have been working on for almost two decades. While research from centres in the EU, US, UK and China is described, there are hundreds more groups working to solve the technical problems posed by the ‘green revolution’. Sadly, science takes time as well as money. That’s why we don’t yet have a cure for cancer, which is a much smaller scale problem by comparison. Unfortunately, the world now has a surfeit of climate scientists who have been working on describing greenhouse gases for over 70 years ; it doesn’t have a surplus of electronics and technological geniuses who can solve it. Those who can are working on it. Moreover, the apparently neat solution of battery electric vehicles (BEV’s) may not be the ‘silver bullet’ that activists and politicians hope for. Engineers think that multiple solutions may be needed working in combination. We need ambitious targets, not reckless ones..and we need time to work on them.

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