By Robert G. Watts, Frank Kreith (Series Editor)
In order for the public to responsibly put a value on environmental concerns, it must be educated about the prospects of environmental degradation due to energy production, including possible climate change. The best thing for scientists to do is to present what we know, clearly separating what is known from what is suspected, in a non-apocalyptic manner. If matters are clearly and passionately presented to the public, we must be prepared to accept the will of the people. This presents the scientific community with an enormous responsibility, perhaps unlike any we have had in the past. Author Robert G. Watts frames the global warming debate in terms of what the engineering community must do. This community has for the most part based designs almost entirely on such constraints as economy of sales, the immediate safety of the consumer (to prevent lawsuits, for example) and federal guidelines when they exist (and they almost always do). If global warming is a real threat, engineers now need to begin to think in terms of global environmental constraints as we design new power plants, factories, automobiles, buildings, and homes.
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