Engineers report on climate change

In: Uncategorized

16 Nov 2009

Britain’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers has produced an interesting report (PDF) criticising the government’s approach to tackling climate change. According to the report the government will not come close to meeting its target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% between 1990 and 2050 if it continues to purse an approach based overwhelmingly on mitigation. Instead it advocates what it calls a MAG approach based on a combination of mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering.

To put the challenge into perspective the report argues that to be on track to meet its target Britain would be need to be as fuel efficient as France (the most decarbonised of the developed economies owing to its earlier investment in nuclear power) by 2015. This would mean the equivalent of building 30 nuclear power stations and retiring an equal number of coal-fired ones.

It is worth noting that the report is based on work undertaken by Professor Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado.

The report does not examine broader conceptual questions such as whether mitigation – which lumps together measures to reduce demand with measures to bolster a decarbonised supply – is a useful category.

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