Archive for the 'Sustainability' Category

Picture the Future: Australia

Keith March 23rd, 2010

Yesterday, on World Water Day, Siemens delivered a presentation outlining their technology blueprint for a cleaner, greener Australia.  Using Siemens technologies in the fields of water and energy, they have put together a “technology blueprint for energy and water sustainability in Australia by 2030.” Impressive stuff.  Most impressively, they claim that even: “current available technology, with some fuel switching, could reduce the emissions from the electricity sector by up to 30 percent”.  Over the period 2000 to 2050, Australia’s population is expected to grow by 75%. The challenge is to reduce emissions over the same time period by 60%. Siemens claim that this can be done with the right mix of technologies, and without purchasing CO2 certificates from offshore.

Now if we could only get governments to pay some real attention to this…

Footprints

The issues

There are four Mega-trends in the world at the moment: Climate change, Demographic change, Urbanisation and Globalisation.  Energy is linked to all four, and water plays a role in two of the four.

Although we definitely have a number of crises on our hands in Australia, we sometimes forget that we are amazingly well-off compared to many parts of the world – for now.  We have plenty of water in Australia; it’s just not all in the right places.  We have excellent access to all known forms of energy; we are currently relying too much on coal & oil, the sources with the highest per capita emissions.  Our immediate survival is not under threat.  However, the time to act is now – before things get worse.  The “do nothing” option means that we can expect an increase in emissions of 50% over the same 50 year period.

We also often tend to see only the costs of the solutions. We need to remember that new technologies also create more jobs. There are sound economic reasons for changing the game. However, “changing our view of the future can be unsettling”. It would be much better for our economy to invest in technology rather than buying in offshore CO2 certificates!

What kind of future do you want?

Siemens have applied their “Picture the Future” innovation approach to these issues; this approach is:

Concept > Research > Scenario >Validation >Picture

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Knowing your Environment

Keith July 18th, 2007

The current discussion on the AOK Star Series is on the topic: Can KM Rise to the Challenge of Solving the Climate Crisis?  Bruce Karney, the “star” moderator of this discussion, asks the excellent question – if we are all so smart, why don’t we do something about some of the important things? 

Most of us would rather work on important interesting projects than trivial boring ones.  If you are like me, you find the evidence regarding global warming to be compelling.  During the past year I have come to the realization that there is simply nothing more important for me to be working on than helping to alleviate climate change and the myriad disasters it will likely unleash on our descendants.

Is it possible that we, as a species, KNOW what is coming, KNOW how to prevent the worst of it, and yet will fail to take action in time to do so?  If so, it will be the worst failure of knowledge management since humans obtained the ability to distinguish between good and evil.

One aspect of the climate change “debate” is the pros and cons of alternative energy sources, and whether they can provide “baseload” energy production.

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