Engineering Thinking

Steve McIntyre in his recent posting entitled “The Smug Loop” elaborates on a topic which has occurred to me numerous times as I encounter “experts” in climate science or read about it. His point is sumarised by:

As someone who’s interacted with this niche over the past number of years, my recommendation has consistently been that people who are worried about the impact of increased CO2 need to provide an “engineering quality” exposition of how doubled CO2 leads to (say) 3 degree C and thence to problems. More cerebral, rather than less cerebral.

Engineering quality. Right on. That’s what we (the world) are missing related to the debate on climate change (man-made or otherwise) and the debate on energy futures.

I have yet to see such an “exposition” expressed and explained in an engineering way. I’m sure such things do exist, but anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.

  • all the papers authored by the Scottish Government on so-called renewable energies
  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s initiative to determine “why people don’t get it about climate change”. I questioned the leader of this august body on their panel’s membership, and when asked about engineers I’m told “we’ve spoken with those types at Longannet Power Station”.

“Speaking with” is different than “thinking like” and producing engineering quality deliverables.

2 Responses to Engineering Thinking

  1. fujirobin says:

    I’m not completely sure what you mean by an “engineering quality exposition” – can you point to an example of one in a similarly complex field?

  2. rms says:

    Can’t point to something published as I don’t know where something would be those I know of are not published publically. I’m thinking so-called Design Basis Memorandum (DBM), Design Specification (DS), etc. used for process industry construction projects. Further, just having a Business Case (as suggested in a PRINCE2 project process) would be good start.

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