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New Paper: Decarbonisation Policy Ignores Engineering Reality Test

A paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation and written by Professor Michael Kelly (University of Cambridge) shows that most of the ambitions to decarbonise the UK and global economy have not been put through an engineering reality test.

The paper reveals that the scale, scope, feasibility, cost, resources and other requirements of the decarbonisation agenda have never been tested against other calls on human and physical resources of the planet.

The fact that carbon emissions are going up inexorably in spite of many projects across the globe already raises a simple question ‘What are we getting for our money?’

Professor Kelly’s paper discusses the role of technology changes in helping meet the global decarbonisation agenda: success in the UK and failure elsewhere still represents failure.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that some of the more calamitous projects are rather less likely, raising the question of how much of this agenda is really necessary in short order.

The new paper is intended to bring out some key lessons from the realities of successful technology changes in the recent past as they bear on the global challenge of climate change.

It finds that the gap between rhetoric and reality is dangerously wide, on the basis of some of the simplest premises of engineering and technology.

Michael J Kelly FRS FREng is Prince Philip Professor of Technology, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge.

Full paper