The submarines will be patrolling the waters, keeping an eye out for the ‘wolf warrior”.
International Woman’s Day/International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February 2023 and to celebrate www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com and www.themirrorinspires.com interviewed Lim Xin Lan, senior Power Engineer CHINT, Asia. Why did you choose to become a power engineer? My love for numbers led me into Engineering. When I was pursuing my Honours in Electrical Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, I developed an interest in power engineering. In my twenties, I foresaw how I could empower the world as a power engineer. I wanted to make an impact to society at large by ensuring the safe transmission of reliable electricity – a fundamental human need. It has been about a decade since I graduated from school, and I have never once looked back at my decision. Till today, I’m still motivated by my role as I always find meaning in what I do. There can’t be many female power engineers? My undergraduate cohort consisted of about 100 students, and they were mostly male. While the number of female power engineers in the industry today is still outnumbered by men, gender should not be a qualifying factor for this profession. If anything, the small number of female engineers in the industry as a whole represents an opportunity for more women to break into this field. Power engineers, whether male or female, should be driven by a strong sense of intuition, and importantly, a passion to solve real world problems such as the electrification of underserved areas in the world, and to ensure the safety of the end users. What is it exactly that you do? In a nutshell, critical thinking is what I do on a daily basis. I recommend the right solutions to businesses and governments worldwide to ensure the safe transmission of reliable electricity, and at the same […]
-Paul Cleary A David-and-Goliath story set in the ancient landscape of the Pilbara. In the space of just fifteen years, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group has become a global iron-ore giant worth $70 billion. But in its rush to develop, FMG has damaged and destroyed ancient Aboriginal heritage and brokered patently unfair agreements with the traditional owners of the land. When FMG has met resistance, it has used hard-nosed litigation in pursuit of favourable outcomes. This strategy came unstuck when FMG encountered several hundred Yindjibarndi people and their leader, Michael Woodley, who left school in Grade Six and was from then on immersed in his traditional culture. Woodley has led his community in an epic, thirteen-year battle against FMG, all on a shoestring budget. Clear-eyed and humane, Title Fight reveals the Wild West of iron-ore mining in the Pilbara. It tells the story of how a small group of Indigenous Australians fought tenaciously to defend their spiritual connection to Country. And, at a moment of national reckoning with our colonial and ancient past, with our relationship to the land, it asks some critical questions: Who does the land belong to? Who gets to choose what it’s used for? And whose side are we on?
Sylvia G. Rice, Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Rice University. In 1938, a British engineer and amateur meteorologist made a discovery that set off a fierce debate about climate change. Scientists had known for decades that carbon dioxide could trap heat and warm the planet. But Guy Callendar was the first to connect human activities to global warming. He showed that land temperatures had increased over the previous half-century, and he theorised that people were unwittingly raising Earth’s temperature by burning fossil fuels in furnaces, factories and even his beloved motorcycles. When Callendar published his findings, it set off a firestorm. The scientific establishment saw him as an outsider and a bit of a meddling gentleman scientist. But, he was right. His theory became widely known as “the Callendar Effect.” Today, it’s known as global warming. Callendar defended his theory until his death in 1964, increasingly bewildered that the science met such resistance from those who did not understand it. Building on over a century of climate science A theoretical basis for climate change had been developed over the 114 years leading up to Callendar’s research. Scientists including Joseph Fourier, Eunice Foote, John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius had developed an understanding of how water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere trapped heat, noted that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also absorbed large quantities of heat and speculated about how increasing fossil fuel use could raise Earth’s temperature and change the climate. However, these scientists spoke only of future possibilities. Callendar showed global warming was already happening. An engineer runs his own climate experiments Callendar received a certificate in mechanics and mathematics from City and Guilds College, London, in 1922 and went to work for his father, a well-known British physicist. The two shared interests in physics, motorcycles, racing and meteorology. Callendar would later join the U.K. Ministry of Supply in armament […]
Bashar Al Shawa, PhD Student in Architecture, University of Bath It’s been claimed that technology is the answer to the climate crisis. By eventually separating economic growth from its effects on the environment through improving energy efficiency, the argument runs, better technology promises to prevent catastrophic global warming. But among the many things that this argument fails to consider is the reality that new technology has often encouraged extravagant forms of consumption: from private cars and planes to kitchens full of appliances and air conditioning in countries with mild climates. Technology has also caused what’s called the “rebound effect”: where improving energy efficiency leads to cheaper energy and therefore higher rates of energy consumption. For example, buying a more fuel-efficient car will reduce your average fuel cost per trip and thus is likely to lead to more trips, taking away at least some of your anticipated energy savings. A similar trend appears in architecture, where advances in artificial cooling, heating and computer-aided design have – rather than creating more efficient designs – actually introduced wasteful building styles. In my work, I call this phenomenon the “architectural rebound effect”. This effect becomes especially clear when we look at how building façades (the “skin” that covers buildings) have evolved over the past 100 years. Façade failures The Cité de Refuge residential building in Paris, designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in 1933, boasts one of the earliest examples of a façade made entirely out of glass. But with no windows or air conditioning, its summer indoor temperatures reached up to 33°C – making it a “notable failure” in architecture. To fix this, the façade was fitted with external shading devices and about a third of its glass was made opaque. This strategy was mostly effective: computer simulations have shown that the upgraded design reduced indoor summer temperatures to below 25°C. From the 1950s, fully glazed façades without shading […]
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Three global fossil fuel giants have just suffered embarrassing rebukes over their inadequate action on climate change. Collectively, the developments show how courts, and frustrated investors, are increasingly willing to force companies to reduce their carbon dioxide pollution quickly. A Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to slash its greenhouse emissions, and 61% of Chevron shareholders backed a resolution to force that company to do the same. And in an upset at Exxon Mobil, an activist hedge fund won two seats on the company’s board. The string of wins was followed in Australia on Thursday by a court ruling that the federal environment minister, when deciding whether or not to approve a new coal mine, owes a duty of care to young people to avoid causing them personal injury from climate change. The court rulings are particularly significant. Courts have often been reluctant to interfere in what is viewed as an issue best left to policymakers. These recent judgements, and others, suggest courts are more prepared to scrutinise emissions reduction by businesses and – in the case of the Dutch court – order them to do more. Court warns of ‘irreversible consequences’ In a world-first ruling, a Hague court ordered oil and gas giant Shell to reduce CO₂ emissions by 45% by 2030, relative to 2019 levels. The court noted Shell had no emissions-reduction targets to 2030, and its policies to 2050 were “rather intangible, undefined and non-binding”. The case was brought by climate activist and human rights groups. The court found climate change due to CO₂ emissions “has serious and irreversible consequences” and threatened the human “right to life”. It also found Shell was responsible for so-called “Scope 3” emissions generated by its customers and suppliers. The Chevron upset involved an investor revolt. Some 61% of shareholders supported a resolution calling for Chevron to substantially reduce Scope 3 […]
As the third decade of the 21st century gets under way, we will look back on 2021 as a year when the future of our life on earth balanced on a fulcrum. But which way will we lean? Will we grind out a post-COVID-19 recovery along the lines of the recovery from the last great global financial crisis in 2009 towards a more dangerous future of higher consumption and emissions? Or will policy-makers, politicians, business leaders and civil society summon their collective imaginations, cooperative spirit and willpower to craft stimulus packages and investments that lead to a more sustainable, nature-friendly future? Last year broke yet more of the wrong kinds of environmental records. A peak temperature of 38°C inside the Arctic Circle. Wildfires in the Amazon that spread to the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, driving a drought that cost Brazil’s agriculture sector $3 billion. Historic levels of flooding along the Yangtze, affecting 63 million people. More Californian fires to add to the $148 billion of losses from 2018’s fires. A record number of Atlantic hurricanes making landfall. 300mThe estimate of the number of people who live in places where climate-triggered flooding will likely occur by 2050 5xGreenland’s loss of ice when compared with the melt rate 25 years ago 23%The percentage of global climate change emissions that the degradation of ecosystems is responsible for $44tnOr one-half of all global GDP depends on nature and is threatened by its loss 1mThe number of species at risk from extinction Yet amid the storm clouds of grim statistics are some sunbeams of hope. Last year saw a doubling in the number of companies committing to net-zero targets. The election of Joe Biden means the three largest carbon emitters in the world – China, the EU and the US – have all committed […]
Green finance is blossoming. Globally, the green bond market could be worth $2.36 trillion by 2023. It is regarded as a way of meeting the needs of environmentalism and capitalism simultaneously – but what is green finance and how does it work? At its simplest, green finance is any structured financial activity – a product or service – that’s been created to ensure a better environmental outcome. It includes an array of loans, debt mechanisms and investments that are used to encourage the development of green projects or minimize the impact on the climate of more regular projects. Or a combination of both. Funding sustainable development For the United Nations, green financing plays an important role in delivering several of its Sustainable Development Goals. Its Environment team is already working with public and private sector organisations in an attempt to align international financial systems to the sustainable development agenda. Some of the activities UN Environment is involved in include helping countries re-engineer their regulatory frameworks – so that green borrowing becomes compliant, for example – and helping steer public sector planning in a more environmentally friendly direction. Clean sources of energy can be brought to fruition through the right combination of planning consent, strategic priorities and availability of capital. Such projects could be given preferential treatment to make them a more attractive option than, for example, fossil-fuel derived energy infrastructure. Typical projects that fall under the green finance umbrella include: Renewable energy and energy efficiency Pollution prevention and control Biodiversity conservation Circular economy initiatives Sustainable use of natural resources and land Growing international interest One common green finance instrument is the green bond. There is a code of conduct that defines what constitutes a green bond. To qualify, a bond must adhere to criteria on the use of proceeds, have a process for project evaluation […]
Since the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, disaster recovery plans are almost always framed with aspirational plans to “build back better”. It’s a fine sentiment – we all want to build better societies and economies. But, as the Cheshire Cat tells Alice when she is lost, where we ought to go depends very much on where we want to get to. The ambition to build back better therefore needs to be made explicit and transparent as countries slowly re-emerge from their COVID-19 cocoons. The Asian Development Bank attempted last year to define build-back-better aspirations more precisely and concretely. The bank described four criteria: build back safer, build back faster, build back potential and build back fairer. The first three are obvious. We clearly want our economies to recover fast, be safer and be more sustainable into the future. It’s the last objective – fairness – that will inevitably be the most challenging long-term goal at both the national and international level. Economic fallout from the pandemic is already being experienced disproportionately among poorer households, in poorer regions within countries, and in poorer countries in general. Some governments are aware of this and are trying to ameliorate this brewing inequality. At the same time, it is seen as politically unpalatable to engage in redistribution during a global crisis. Most governments are opting for broad-brush policies aimed at everyone, lest they appear to be encouraging class warfare and division or, in the case of New Zealand, electioneering. In fact, politicians’ typical focus on the next election aligns well with the public appetite for a fast recovery. We know that speedier recoveries are more complete, as delays dampen investment and people move away from economically depressed places. Speed is also linked to safety. As we know from other disasters, this recovery cannot be completed as long as the […]