Building For Climate Change

Current scientific advice indicates the key design requirement for the safety of all humanity’s infrastructure and the wellbeing and sustainability of natural ecosystems and species is an 80% reduction of fossil fuel production within two decades.

To meet social & economic needs while phasing out this energy source, we will need to consider the consequential issues of a sustained decline in energy supply and material consumption in all sectors of the economy.

Read More

Meeting The Net-Zero Challenge

The Government’s current proposal is to broadly accept the Climate Change Commission’s budgets from their 31 May 2021 final report, with minor changes related to forestry emissions. But based on the available information, the Commission’s emissions reduction targets for 2030 are far weaker than is required for New Zealand to do its part in meeting the key goal of the Paris Agreement to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees C.

Read More

Submission on Measures for Transition to an Expanded and Highly Renewable Electricity System

We recommend to commence work on a vision of how New Zealand will look without fossil fuels and then to develop a pathway how to get there. This consultation document assumes a great manufacturing effort over the next decades of power lines, power pylons, windmills, PV panels, electric cars, rail tracks and other infrastructure. This will all be done predominantly by using fossil fuels with associated emissions. It will also be done on the backdrop of diminishing resources of raw materials including crude oil. In terms of energy we are also dealing with a reduction of the ratio of Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROI) while aiming to produce new infrastructure and trying to maintain or replace existing infrastructure all built with fossil fuels at a high EROI ratio.

Read More

The framing and reframing of public policy in New Zealand

The way in which we describe any major social problem largely determines the kind of policy we eventually consider for dealing with it. In this webinar, Michael Hanne explores the ways in
which two issues, Poverty and the Housing Crisis, are
generally “framed” in public discussion in New Zealand. He offers critiques of that framing and asks how they might usefully be “reframed” in a socially more responsible way. He ends by inviting the audience to talk about other issues they feel need to be reframed.

Read More

The Legacy of Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” (first published in 1962) is an environmental science work that documents the harm caused by indiscriminate use of pesticides.
Dr Howell’s presentation identifies implications in the legacy of Rachel’s “Silent Spring” for Engineers for Social Responsibility.

Read More

Submission to Draft Advice of Climate Change Commission on 2nd Emissions Reduction Plan

The advice document subscribes to the economic growth paradigm in assuring the economy “would continue to grow under the recommended emissions budgets”. On the other hand, it has been established, that economic growth brings with it emissions’ growth, because an absolute decoupling of the two has not been achieved yet. It is therefore timely to start a discussion of “degrowth” to make a real and required impact on gross emissions. Degrowth of the economy means a planned reduction of the material throughput through the economy and the associated emissions, while focusing on a just transition and wellbeing indicators. Worldwide there is an increasing amount of literature generated and some of our members are contributing to the domestic discussion.

Read More

What it takes to be a climate prepared city

Adapting to the many and various challenges of global warming, from an urban development perspective, requires an understanding of the hydrological landscape that underlies the city so that a master plan can emerge that increases green space and public space, encourages biodiversity, and reduces flooding and the possibility of flood-water contamination.

Read More

Green steel

Steel is one of those materials that we cannot imagine a future without. Although there are some applications where wood based materials can replace it, its just such a useful material and it can be fully recycled, so surely there’s a way of producing it which doesn’t cost us the earth.

Read More

March 2023

– ESR 2023 AGM
– Global Energy News
– First electric car with sodium ion battery
– Why Roman buildings have survived so long
– Study finds climate crisis worsened extreme weather
– Eight ways to attempt to stay within 1.5OC increase
– Global fresh water demand to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030
– Pollution leaves New Zealand wetlands badly damaged
– Cities looking to work with rather than against water
– Peak human population may not exceed 8.8 billion
– The origin of time?

Read More