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Climate change: end it now

Mankind has less than 20 years to halt climate change, Friends of the Earth executive director Tony Juniper, told an ICE conference in Cambridge last week.

According to Juniper, major climate shifts will begin to take place unless we stop greenhouse emissions.

His warning came during the "Facing the challenge of whole-life zero carbon – how to plan, design, build and operate low carbon/carbon neutral developments" conference, organised by ICE East of England in Cambridge.

According to Chris Dodson of the ICE East of England: "Apart from stringent reduction targets, the government is also demanding that future construction is carbon neutral, but there is little clear thinking on how to go about it.

"The conference aims to stimulate debate and ideas by asking how zero carbon applies in the region, whether technology can save us, and whether a zero carbon business is possible."

Juniper, who gave the keynote presentation, said he was pleased to address the professionals who would be instrumental in dealing with climate change – engineers, architects and planners.

He said that a staggering 5% of global carbon emissions come from the cement industry alone, and a further 20% from deforestation.
The production of metals and water treatment are also significant energy users – the highest user of energy in the East of England is Anglia Water.

All these processes are used either in construction or civil engineering, and the impact engineering professionals can make in improving the efficiency of these processes is clear.

Giving further food for thought, Juniper said the emissions causing us problems today were produced in the Starsky and Hutch era of the 1970s, and that emissions today were contributing to increasing ice melts at the poles every year.

The conference was organised by ICE East of England in association with Friends of the Earth and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and held at SmartLIFE, a low carbon centre designed and built with sustainable construction techniques, in Cambridge.

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