26 April 2012 by Dickon Ross
Most environmental scientists now agree that human activity is leading to global warming and one species is therefore knowingly but unintentionally changing the environment. Irresponsible and careless that may be, but it's not a deliberate plan. Now humans could intentionally try to reverse that damage with geoengineering schemes that could remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or reflect some of the sun's rays back into space.
This remedial interference with the world's climate would be well-intentioned and planned but still controversial. The power to affect the world around us on such a large scale seems so phenomenal that it is the stuff of Old Testament miracles and the power of god. Just as it was for Moses parting the red sea, it would be a dramatic last resort. Playing God with nature calls for some caution. We look at the options and issues in geo-engineering in this month's cover feature.
"It is unclear whether geo-engineering is socially, economically or even ecologically viable," Professor Jim Al-Khalili told E&T. "At best, even if all of the problems are ironed out, the danger is that geo-engineering is seen as a 'get out of jail free' card."
We are in awe of the forces of nature in our feature on the equipment put into the middle of tornadoes. Most people, on seeing a twister tossing trucks into the air, move away, as fast as they can in the opposite direction. But these storm chasing scientists aim to get their instruments into the heart of the action, which they hope will give them the data they need to better understand tornadoes.
A new scanning technology is helping palaeontologists to crack the secrets of nature. We look at how it's changing their understanding of the prehistory by allowing them to see inside fossils.
And if the world needs more electric cars and more renewable energy sources, these in turn need a modern, intelligent power grid. We look at the development of smart grids and hear what's coming next from Bastian Fischer, vice president of industrial strategy at Oracle Utilities.
Also in this issue, how machine to machine computing is revolutionizing healthcare, how engineers will squeeze more and more mileage out of the internal combustion engine, why computers are turning inside out and how China is losing its grip on rare earth metals.
Finally, don't forget to bookmark our new web site designed for your smartphone with the latest news, job opportunities and tweets. We also have a new E&T Daily email of news. Get it delivered to your inbox each working day by including it in your choice of E&T newsletters in the recently redesigned and expanded My IET area. Look for the "Newsletters" tab.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Edited: 28 June 2012 at 03:55 PM by Editor's letter Moderator
Posted By: Dickon Ross @ 26 April 2012 04:05 PM Introducing an issue of E&T
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