Saturday, 17 October 2015

Reader response Draft 3

In the article "Why the climate fight needs engineers", Shah (2015) suggests the need for engineering leaders with technical skills to help tackle climate change in the Asia-Pacific. Also, he agrees with Khew, Deputy President of IES (Institution of Engineers Singapore), who believes the urgent demand for "sustainable engineering solutions" will help achieve an eco-friendly economy with opportunities given to engineers to find sustainable solutions and creating a resilient infrastructure system.

I agree with the author that engineers are needed to help combat climate change. Engineers are the frontline of innovation and equipping them with much needed knowledge on sustainability and instilling leadership skills in them to take on directives can help tackle climate change. Engineers should use their expertise to find sustainable solutions as the world looks into sustainable energy in the future. However, I feel the roles of engineers can be further examined by the author on the context of social and economic well-being such as creating social awareness through technology and improving existing systems which can therefore be economically cost-effective.

According to Parkinson (2003), one area that engineers can focus on is the need for support for social change [1]. Engineers can help develop or fine-tune existing technologies which can bring about social awareness on climate change to convey a message to the public to use eco-friendly technologies. For example, encouraging users to switch to eco-friendly vehicles such as electric cars can educate the public on reducing carbon emissions on the road. Fortunately, engineers have successfully engineered electric-powered vehicles which do not use fossil fuels and are also in the midst of introducing them on the road in the future. Solar technology is also being used as alternatives to generate electricity in homes as well.

Furthermore, by tweaking existing systems, engineers can implement cost-effective measures. In one example, Nusca (2010) mentions how engineers in the US Pacific Northwest had successfully improved efficiency of dams in warm climates through a devised management system whereby water losses in the summer are reduced by 25% and the risk of flooding is also reduced as reservoirs are filled reliably. The system enables them to ‘’determine when to empty the reservoirs’’ for flood control in the winter and “refill them in spring’’ for storage [2]. They did not have to buy expensive add-ons to their system but just by having engineers to improve on them proved to be cost-effective.

In conclusion, engineers are needed to help tackle climate change but I feel that their roles can be further examined by the author on the social and economic front. Engineers also need to take into account changing patterns in society and the environment so that they can come up with new ideas when addressing climate change. Nonetheless, the engineering sector has contributed significantly to the economy and will certainly be needed to help create an eco-friendly economy in the future through sustainable solutions as governments seek to gain an edge against climate change.

(490 words)

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