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 region particularly in Singapore. 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.
Engineers are indeed needed to help combat climate change. They are the at 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. Even though I agree with the author about the roles of engineers generally in fighting climate change, I feel that their roles could have been further explained by the author on the context of social and economic well-being against climate change.
According to Parkinson (2003), one area that engineers can contribute is advancing or leading the support for social change. What I mean is that 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, 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. This encourages drivers and the general public to switch to eco-friendly vehicles such as electric cars thereby educating the public in reducing carbon emissions on the road. The recent advancement in solar technology also made it possible in it being used as an alternative to generate electricity in homes as well. This will encourage people to switch to using or installing green technology in homes in the future.
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. They did not have to buy expensive add-ons to their system but just having engineers to improve on them proved to be cost-effective for these companies and industries.
In conclusion, engineers are needed to help tackle climate change but I feel that their roles could have been further explained 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. 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.
ReferencesNusca, A. (2010, January 28). With new technique, engineers prepare Pacific Northwest dams for climate change. ZDNet. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from http://www.zdnet.com/article/with-new-technique-engineers-prepare-pacific-northwest-dams-for-climate-change/
Parkinson, S. (2003, September 12). Tackling Climate Change - the role of the engineer. Scientists for Global Responsibility. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from http://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/tackling-climate-change-role-engineer
Shah, V. (2015, June 8). Eco-Business. Why the climate fight needs engineers. Retrieved October 17, 2015, from http:// www.eco-business.com/news/why-the-climate-fight-needs-engineers/