Spirit of Blitz 'needed to beat climate change'
A WARTIME mentality is needed to fight climate change, with a new battle plan drawn up that includes building 40,000 more wind turbines and 20 nuclear power stations by the middle of the century, a new report claims.
In a hard-hitting statement, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has warned that, using current tactics, targets have no chance of being met for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The UK's new Climate Change Act has "failed even before it has started", according to the report Climate Change: Have We Lost the battle?
Instead, a new approach is needed – which uses all the resources and tactics available to go into battle against the problem, according to the report.
The body says that by using current strategies, the target to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 will not be met until 2100 – by when there will be devastating consequences. Instead, fresh tactics are needed which will be a "monumental task", the scientists said – even eclipsing "the efforts and resourcing deployed during the Cold War".
IMechE's chief executive Stephen Tetlow said there was a need for a "wartime mentality", with ordinary people aware of how much electricity they were using in the same way they would have been aware of food consumption and blackouts in the Second World War.
The report calls for a new 100-year "battle plan", which includes:
• Building 16 nuclear power stations by 2030 and four more by 2050. Nine are planned, with none in Scotland.
• Putting up 27,000 new wind turbines by 2030 and another 13,000 by 2050. Currently, there are 2,600 turbines in operation across the UK.
• Constructing 100,000 "artificial trees" by 2050 to absorb emissions – many in the North Sea.
• Using biomass, solar, waste, tidal, wave and hydro facilities on a massive scale.
• Creating a Department of Energy and Climate Security with sole responsibility for the new strategy.
Lead author Dr Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at IMechE, said: "The Institution believes it's time to go to war on climate change. It's about to attack and it's time to defend ourselves and fight back."
But a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "IMechE's can't-do, won't-do attitude is sending out a defeatist message ahead of the crucial climate change talks in Copenhagen.
"If we act now, we can not only beat climate change but gain from green benefits in terms of jobs and investment from going low-carbon. That's what our transition plan is doing, so it's a shame the Institute is not embracing the vast opportunities available for engineers in the shift to a low-carbon economy."
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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