World Engineer's Convention

World Engineer's Convention

Words by Ruedi Noser, President of the Association WEC 2011

Apart from scientific and technological positions, WEC 2011 will also look into the political and economic implications of the current energy issues. Ruedi Noser, President of the Association WEC 2011, stresses that there is an ethical component, too, which has to be met in order to make a change.

Engineers Power the World - This is the title of the World Engineers' Convention (WEC) 2011. In choosing it, we engineers want to make it clear that there is enough energy on this planet for all of us and that we already have the technologies we need to enable us to use it. The whole world's energy supply can be secured without our having to go back to the Middle Ages or compromise the basis of human life or our planet. As engineers, we are getting to grips with climate change. It now remains for politicians to decide which technologies they want to use. It is with this self-confidence that the organizers of WEC 2011 have stepped up to the mark.

But suddenly a disaster like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico comes along, which makes it clear to us in a dramatic way that it is not only climate change that can have catastrophic consequences for our planet, but also the ways in which we are generating energy today. How could something like this happen? How is it possible that nuclear power stations can be operated for more than 60 years on this planet with only one major disaster, while there is at least one serious accident in the oil industry just about every year? Besides the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there are now fears of another impending oil disaster at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

As yet it is too early to say exactly how the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico happened. But it is clear that nobody anticipated a catastrophe of this magnitude, otherwise proposals of how to tackle it would already be on the table. The post-mortem of the accident will be very interesting. Did BP really...

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