I fully concur, “It is important to consider all sides of an argument” (“Considering all sides,” Engineering Dimensions, September/October 2017). Last year (2016) NASA confirmed (again) that global warming is occurring—on MARS.
Science is one of the few institutions that still seeks the truth; but natural science is not engineering. Thus, engineers should not waste time debating who is to blame. Rather, our task is to seek effective engineered solutions. We need not look to repetitive damage that was caused by Hurricane Andrew and reoccurred due to Hurricane Irma. In 2011, the Goderich tornado ripped roofs off buildings that were not built to code (one truss nail, not three). Toronto suffers from repeated flooding, in part because we delegate planning to idealists rather than engineers.
Despite the rhetoric, deforestation continues, while reforestation is merely discussed. Our wind farms do not conform to ministry standards, yet no corrective action is taken, and engineers are merely reprimanded for inadequate solar panel installations. Ineffective North American public transport necessitates automobiles, yet electric cars have a higher lifetime CO2 footprint than current gas-driven vehicles. The US, a major CO2 producer, is reverting to coal-fuelled power, not only putting CO2 into the atmosphere, but also putting mercury into the rivers and emitting more radiation than nuclear plants.
International populations are exploding. More fuel is needed for cooking. People migrate to cities and heat islands are created. These problems and others even more urgent need solutions. So why waste time debating who is to blame?
Global warming has been downgraded to climate change, and we all know change is inevitable and the only constant in our lives, but because problems change we need solutions.
Email me if you want references, or use the PEO forum if you can offer solutions: forum.peo.on.ca.
Peter Broad, P.Eng., London, ON