The Featured Letter on page 3 of Engineering Insight September/October 2015 Volume 16/5 published by IPENZ follows.
Engineers for Social Responsibility Inc. (ESR) is an independent group of engineers with interest in the role of engineering in achieving sustainable and equitable energy, environmental, and social systems.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. The negative effects particularly affect developing countries and are only beginning to be felt. They will increase greatly over coming decades unless we all accept our responsibilities and substantially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
We urge all professional engineers to take leadership in transitioning New Zealand to a low-carbon future.
Engineers have a vital role in raising energy efficiency standards, and in planning, designing and building stormwater, communications and transport systems. Every man-made chemical with greenhouse potential, every mine, every earth-mover, highway, aeroplane and factory farm is an engineered system.
There are renewable electricity generation plants consented but not built with a combined capacity of 3000MW. That additional capacity could be used to achieve emission reductions through the transition of transport energy demand from liquid fuels to electricity. The electricity market should be reorganised to encourage demand side management. A predictable and rising carbon price should be introduced, and all fossil fuel subsidies discontinued. Urban transport policies should prioritise reducing vehicle travel demands.
It is time for engineers to recognise their responsibilities; to change things so that they contribute to ensuring an equitable, more sustainable and more resilient future. All IPENZ members will ultimately be responsible for this transition to a low-carbon engineered system, or for their failure to act.
Ross Rutherford MIPENZ,