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Energy action


John Foskett's letter (NCE last week) suggests that, in the light of 'exponential energy growth' in developing countries, the Kyoto protocol is a dead duck.

However, the Kyoto agreement, even if achievable, merely scratches the surface of the problem in requiring only a 5% reduction in 'greenhouse gases' (GHG) primarily carbon dioxide, by 2008-12.

This contrasts with the Royal Commission's report that we need a 60% reduction in GHG emission by 2050 just to stabilise climate change. By then we will already be looking at sea level rises of around 0.7m and increasing desertification of Africa and southern Europe.

The debate also ignores the fundamental problem that our entire world economy is based on energy use; over 10,000Mt of oil equivalent per year. Of this 88% is derived from fossil fuels.

Our current lifestyles are unsustainable and we as engineers, need to adapt to this, by promoting radical energy efficiency and alternative energy sources.

Peter Hinson (M), EMP2 Consultants, 30 The Fairway, Burnham, South Bucks, SL1 8DS

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