IEEE’s Plan To Help Combat Climate Change

The IEEE Board of Administrators shaped an advert hoc committee on local weather change in February to coordinate its response to the worldwide risk. The Institute requested the committee’s chair, 2022 IEEE President-Elect Saifur Rahman, concerning the points it is going to be addressing, what function IEEE members can play, and different matters.

Rahman is a professor {of electrical} and laptop engineering at Virginia Tech. The IEEE Life Fellow can be founder and chairman of BEM Controls, a software program firm in McLean, Va., that gives buildings with energy-efficiency options.

His solutions have been edited for readability.

Why was the advert hoc committee established?

Rahman: Its constitution is to develop a cross-IEEE technique to synchronize and information the group’s response to modifications within the international local weather. The committee would be the face of IEEE on the worldwide platform coping with these points.

IEEE has vital related experience and ongoing efforts that may be dropped at bear on this challenge. The committee contains consultants from all six IEEE organizational items and all 10 IEEE areas. I did this on goal so that folks can have some possession over this downside. Efforts embrace the work achieved by societies such because the IEEE Energy & Vitality Society, to which I belong; conferences such because the IEEE Sustainable Energy and Vitality Convention; publications together with IEEE Electrification; and technical requirements, like IEEE 1547 for connecting distributed power assets to the grid. This advert hoc committee will serve to raised join and coordinate these efforts.

Why ought to IEEE be concerned in combating local weather change?

Rahman: IEEE has a worldwide footprint, with members in 160 nations. With this very broad footprint, we may help to carry collectively organizations engaged on varied facets of local weather change and doable options. IEEE is right here to hearken to them.

For instance, organizations such because the Sierra Membership and the World Wildlife Fund aspire to make the world carbon-neutral in 30 to 40 years. There’s nothing improper with their aspirations. We, as technologists, have a duty to level out to them the steps that should be taken to get there and what the challenges are.

We’re not an influence firm, a authorities, or a enterprise that has a goal to attain, however a impartial platform. IEEE is very revered as a result of we don’t have an agenda.

Because the world’s largest group of technical professionals, IEEE has each the chance and the duty to help in organizing engineers, scientists, and technical professionals to handle the causes, mitigate the affect, and adapt to local weather change.

What’s the committee engaged on?

Rahman: We’re reaching out to the French Academy of Applied sciences, Rotary Worldwide, UNESCO, U.S. Nationwide Academy of Engineering, World Federation of Engineering Organizations, and several other environmental organizations to collaborate with them. We’re sharing one another’s approaches to tackling the local weather change downside, and IEEE is providing the companies of its volunteer base to handle a few of these points.

Why ought to members care about local weather change? From a sensible standpoint, what can they do?

Rahman: Local weather change is an existential risk to humanity. It has the potential to vary the way in which we reside and threatens the livelihood of tons of of hundreds of thousands of individuals together with members. The priority about local weather change is throughout all age teams.

IEEE has a duty to carry this risk to the eye of our members in order that they’ll in flip educate enterprise leaders, political leaders, and society about its affect and doable options.

For instance, engineers and technologists can develop applied sciences and supply greatest practices for decarbonization. IEEE may present assets to its members to allow them to give talks to native colleges about matters comparable to coal-burning energy vegetation or photo voltaic power. We need to present that members can discuss climate-change matters with people who find themselves not engineers.

What are applied sciences that you just suppose can have an effect on local weather change?

Rahman: When the advert hoc committee met for the primary time in January, I recognized what I name a six-point plan strategy to point out that IEEE is considering local weather change severely. The applied sciences are:

  1. Vitality effectivity. These embrace low-cost options comparable to utilizing extra environment friendly mild bulbs and reducing the temperature of your air conditioner. When you use much less electrical energy, you’ll burn much less coal. It’s so simple as that.
  2. Battery power storage. You can’t make wind and photo voltaic power helpful all through the day until you’ll be able to retailer it.
  3. Renewables comparable to photo voltaic, wind, and hydroelectricity. These have some challenges that should be solved, comparable to integration into the grid.
  4. Nuclear energy. Whereas large-scale nuclear energy continues to be very unpopular, there are new applied sciences, comparable to superior nuclear reactors and small reactors, that may very well be extra acceptable and are usually not as dangerous as 1,000-megawatt massive nuclear energy vegetation, in line with “Small Modular and Superior Nuclear Reactors: A Actuality Verify,” revealed in IEEE Entry.
  5. Cross-border energy switch. If nations need to be power self-sufficient, they could find yourself placing collectively plenty of assets that aren’t very environment friendly. For instance, it’s cheaper for New York state to purchase electrical energy from Canada than to construct extra energy vegetation.
  6. Carbon sequestration. Coal vegetation can be working for the following 30 to 40 years, so we should settle for that. Our job as engineers is decarbonization, so we have to extract the CO2 launched from energy vegetation and maintain it some place else. Coal-powered vegetation may be extra acceptable if we might extract soot from them.

Local weather change and international warming are common. You may speak concerning the subject at any stage with anyone, from highschool children to life members. My mission for this advert hoc committee is to create a platform to provide members the instruments to do this.

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