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For Climate Safety, Call in the Engineers


For Climate Safety, Call in the Engineers

Jeffrey D. Sachs

At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, diplomats delivered a "rulebook" to guide all countries in combating global warming. When world leaders convene at the UN next September to advance climate safety further, the world’s leading engineers should greet them with a global framework for action.


Imagine if you will, a world in which our political system was run by Scientists and Engineers all dedicated to the betterment of the human race.


As one with degrees in both science and engineering, my ego wants to follow your lead. My humility begs you to allow for some poets, artists, musicians, etc. to join the Starship Enterprise.


By all means call the engineers; but also, let’s keep the X Rebellion alive. That some corporations would kill the planet for a few more dollars is a real lack of imagination, or something worse.
What in the world are "synthetic hydrocarbons, Jeffery? They don’t produce CO2?


In 1961 politicians directing engineers is what landed man on the moon in 1969.

Today politicians directing engineers is keeping fossil fuels in the driver’s seat.

The difference between 1961 and today ? Those who own the politicians make lots of money from fossil fuel.


What you wrote is very true - but recall that among some of the most beautiful engineering-architectural achievements are venues for artists and musicians - there is one on the cover of at least every other edition of “Civil Engineering” Magazine that I receive every month.


Yes, and at some level I am reminded in so many ways how I need to remain connected to humanity. My failing fingers cannot sew a button back on a shirt anymore. But I can find someone who will do it for me for a cup of tea or some money–sometimes just for a smile…


Engineering propaganda will divert much needed activity to wasted god icons, like that on Easter Island. Talking about it is not going to save humanity. Get out of these endless tribal memes. Get real. Leave dead carbon in the ground. Then the need for clean energy will be profitable and startups can attract the capital to hire the engineers.


I assume that he means hydrocarbons in liquid of gas form from renewable biomass sources such as crops and algae. These fuels are carbon-neutral becasue all the CO2 they emit gets reincorporated back into the biomass. This is similar to firewood - it produces lots of CO2 - much more than natural gas per unit of heat - but the trees are growing as fast as they are burned (in my depopulating, warming, and increasingly rainy Appalachian region - somewhat faster), so it is carbon-neutral, but natural gas is not.


I’m not sure what you mean by “engineering propaganda”. In my field, civil engineering, most engineers have benefited greatly from all the jobs in traditional environmental cleanup measures under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, RCRA and Superfund acts, so they and see enormous job security and intellectual challenges in clean energy projects. All we need is a government that will implement tough regulations and programs that force our bosses to put us to work on such far more interesting and socially-satisfying work.


Propaganda starts with tribal words like renewable energy which translates to clean electricity. The engineering term should be clean electricity. Clean energy is carefully defined to include clean thermal energy and energy efficiency. I have capitalized clean energy startups and hired boatloads of engineers.

Required reading –

Climate change and the 75% problem
By Bill Gates
| October 17, 2018

Quick: Think of some inventions that help fight climate change.


Scientists and engineers came up with the “Greening of India” projects which are a disaster from an environmental point of view. They are behind a lot of those Huge Hydro dams which have displaced tens of thousands of peoples. They were behind the Nuclear power industry , design weapons for the Militaries, work for places like MONSANTO using gentics to design “new Species” which are a threat to us all. They claim they can design artificla insecs which can replace bees, grow meat in factories , have the science to read minds even as engineers and scientists design ways to monitor all of our conversations. New ways of obtaining oil resources via fracking have all been developed by Scientists and Enginners, the same groupt hat developed the means by which oil can be extracted from tarsands.

They are not a cure for anything without a Conscience and without morals just as our politicains are not.


If all of the coal, gas, and oil, were left in the ground since 500 years ago when coal was already a staple heat source around the world, how many TREES would have survived? How would the oxygen of the planet fared, soil erosion affected us, and what would we use for a heat source and building material?


“As one with degrees in both science and engineering, my ego wants to follow your lead. My humility begs you to allow for some poets, artists, musicians, etc. to join the Starship Enterprise.”

Evidence of your wisdom, WiseOwl. The Global Warming crisis needs Doers for the Doing that must move beyond the politics. So, let us find that special group, as implied by Yunzer, amongst both scientists and engineers, because within scientists and engineers, there are artists.


I guess I did forget to say, Scientists and Engineers with Morals, Ethics, and Consciences.

Thank you for pointing out what matters.


I think one of the problems WITH science is that morals, ethics and consciences would be claimed by many scientists to be “Un-scientific”. Now I am no luddite but if I reflect on my own history and what helped shape what I see as “The better parts of me” , it was the poets and authors and musicians and artists.

What we need more then anything is a “wholeness” and an understanding that all of these things are important and I think what is referred to as “the Humanities” has been too long shoved aside.

As an add, I can tell by your links to those Music videos how much that means to you.


This is where our education systems fail us.
Needed is learning that focuses on How Life Works: Systems, Interrelatedness, Dynamics, Functions; Ecosystems, Biomes, etc.
When more and more of us Understand How Living Systems function, then we begin to live within How Life Works.


Plants are actually carbon-positive, the more so when one considers the other biota that they support, all carbon-based.

Of course, any individual plant eventually releases its carbon, but where a viable culture of many species exist, this is almost completely taken up by the next organism and the next. And the plants continue to draw carbon into that exchange from the air by their photosynthesis, so that the total mass of biota increases.


Engineers, by all means–but do not leave out the ecologists, the seed-savers, the gardeners, the tenders of flocks, or the generalists who can consider all of this together to create a design.


HI raydelcamino: I am wondering—can Congress people buy all kinds of fossil fuel stocks—and can military leaders buy all those war making stocks ? —If YES, how do we know whether or not they are feathering their own nests and their own wealth — instead of working for the benefit of the nation?