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Old hat


An interesting mixture of articles in NCE last week revealed engineers lobbying for a seat on the Government's new Infrastructure Planning Commission and on the proposed Climate Change Commission while architects and engineers debated who is best qualified to tackle climate changes.

Meanwhile the ICE's energy board is lobbying for alternative energy sources rather than have to rely on Russia.

Having been in renewable energy for perhaps too long, these latest Government initiatives look to me like initiatives we've seen before.

After all, the Sustainable Development Commission was founded seven years ago and has become just one of several such comfortable quangos.

We've also had two Energy White Papers and a stack of worthy reports but we're still failing to hit targets for carbon reduction and sustainable energy development.

I hope the Institution is up to the challenge. An early test will reveal one of the real reasons for the Planning Commission - to sanction airport expansion, based on an aviation policy to 2030 and beyond.

This awed vision is set against the backdrop of the IPCC's increasing certainty of climate change effects and some petroleum experts predicting the start of the inevitable decline in oil output within a decade.

Can we as engineers resist our instinct to build something new? I hope so.

Peter Hinson, Energy consultant,

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