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Climate Emergency Declaration

Are we, as the IET, declaring a climate emergency? 

It's really that simple a topic, should we be adding our professional voice to the growing number of countries and organisations declaring such an event, to bring better awareness of the threat of the climate crisis and to encourage more discussion in addressing it! 

  • Yes it,s a whole raft of nonsense that gets attached to climate change.

    Encouraged by the IPCC's flawed modeling of apocalyptic catastrophic doom.

  • Sea level is increasing due to climate gradually warming and melting the polar caps. Totally natural. Norfolk is also sinking and Scottish coasts are rising. Again totally natural occurance.

  • Not totally natural. At least some of the warming is due to the release of greenhouse gasses due to industrial activity.

  • If not natural then what is it?

    Certainly not CO2

    Read what Willis says.

  • I would support the IET declaring a climate emergency, and I suspect that the majority of the membership would also support such a declaration. We should be supporting best practice in electrical installation to reduce losses. Consider also not just the environment but also the recent increases in electricity prices. In more and more cases it will be worth increasing cable sizes in order to reduce losses. 

    In industrial control gear a lot of energy is wasted in running incandescent pilot lamps and in power wasting contactor coils. There is often a view that in the case of plant using hundreds of kilowatts, that a few watts wasted does not matter. This in my view is incorrect, if replacing incandescent pilot lamps with LEDs costs £100 and saves £33 a year, then it should be done. The fact that the percentage savings are say 0,001% is irrelevant.

    And what happened to economy circuits for contactor coils ?

    However as some of the above posts show, such views are not universal.

  • The IET is the institute of engeering and technology. Nothing to do with the catastrophic doom that is alleged.

    I like there independence.

    What is it broardgauge that is alarming you?

  • I agree.

    The law of supply and demand may be cutting in. If energy becomes more expensive, then it becomes cost-effective to reduce consumption. Eventually a new equilibrium will be reached.

    Then of course, well beyond my demise, there will be no fossil fuels so a new climate equilibrium will be reached.

  • I am alarmed by the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, this is generally accepted to be driving higher temperatures and more extreme weather globally, and increasing sea levels.

    The recent heatwave resulted in numerous temperature records being broken both within the UK and overseas.

    Rising sea levels may soon render Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other low lying nations uninhabitable.

    Worldwide, many cities are facing a permanent drought due to lack of snow and ice upriver of the city. Snow and ice melted gradually during the hot season and produced a somewhat steady flow in the river that supplied water to the city. Now they get rain instead of snow, this rushes down downriver and results in flooding, followed by a drought.

    Some parts of the world are becoming too hot for human life. The limit for human survival is 35 degrees wet bulb temperature, or about 50 degrees dry bulb temperature.

  • In response to several points in this thread.

    I don’t think that the IPCC’s modelling is bad. The problem is the political interpretations that are mostly what we get to see, not the whole picture.

    Looking at the IPCC’s AR6 Working Group Technical Summary (page 26)

    There is quite a clear graphic of the current state of modelling and the ranges of uncertainty.


    Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, WWF, etc. base their views on the high ECS and highest modelled CO2 loading. This is where they claim we are all going to burn but this isn’t going to happen. Somewhere in the middle is a reasonable value of ECS (which seems to be falling over time) and a sensible CO2 loading, probably a bit better than business as usual, somewhere between 2.6 and 4.5. The projections here suggest a problem not an emergency.

    What can we do to resolve this problem? What is the most sensible route considering we have finite resources and an increasing population. The activists tend to come up with what I call the spoilt teenager scenario, they want it all and they want it now, with no consideration of resource requirements or efficiency.

    Most of the current electricity generation systems have a place. I’m not sure of the true validity of wave or tidal generation and I’d rather avoid coal burning until there are rather better technologies to keep it clean. What is not clear is how the different systems interact. What is a sensible level of intermittent generation that can be attached to a conventional system before it causes losses that negate the benefits. 20% seems to be an oft quoted figure. I think solar and wind have place but much better resource based modelling is required. What is the true resources cost of offshore wind if you take into account the cables linking to the consumers and back up for when the wind doesn’t blow. This could be pumped hydro, batteries, gas and oil, nuclear with better load following. All these have a financial and resources cost. We often get given an offshore wind cost of less than £50 per MWh but what does this include?

    New nuclear is quoted around £90 per MWh. How much is included for decommissioning? Does offshore wind include decommissioning?

    What do we do with processes that just require heat, concrete manufacture and steel refining for example? Some of the steel processes can be carried out using electric arc furnaces. Is hydrogen sensible for this? Is CCS sensible or is it a waste or resources using 1/3 of the fuel burnt to sequester the CO2 produced? Is CCS even feasible, it is a key part of the UK’s ‘Net Zero’ plans, but no one has made a practical system as on now.

    I agree that the IET does offer some encouragement to engineers but I think they should be looking at some of the more difficult questions of resources and economics. Their paper ‘Energy technologies for net zero’ is an interesting read, especially the vision on pages 113 and 114.

    The first point is ‘Electricity demand will have doubled or tripled compared to 2020’ without any mention of how or what it will cost.

    What is needed is a credible look at ‘how’ as an engineering style project plan with costs, resources and time scales. Surely this is something for the IET to produce. Without an engineering view we will continue to get papers like this one quoted on the BBC this morning:

    - Empirically validated probabilistic forecasts of energy technology costs

    - Future energy system costs are estimated for three different scenarios

    - A rapid green energy transition will likely result in trillions of net savings

    - Energy models should be updated to reflect high probability of low-cost renewables

    Does anyone on here find it realistic?

  • But the graphic you're presenting still presents a change to the climate. 

    Personally speaking, what I'm finding is there's a backlash against the activism side of things until their message resonates with people. 

    Look at just stop oil, the backlash from them damaging petrol stations has been pretty unanimous yet when fuel bills went through the roof you could start to see people supporting their message as it was partially a way to get the attention of the oil and gas firms making a bundle and not sending any of this downstream to ease the pressure on consumers. 

    Look at extinction rebellion, they have an activist side, but there are professional working groups sprouting up all over the place dealing with architecture, law, medical services, engineering, areas for scientists etc. 

    There's often a view that the activism presented is by people who don't know any better, but in a growing number of cases that's not entirely true, as groups such as XR Engineers literally exist to work towards more sustainable solutions, and bringing this information forward to make people aware. 

    If someone makes a new battery discovery tomorrow that changes everything then XR Engineers are going to be pushing that message to make the public aware of the discovery and the implications this has on emissions going forward.