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New Scientist: Engineers can build a low-carbon world if we let them

Wind, wave and solar power, zero-emissions transport, low-carbon buildings and energy-efficiency technologies have all been shown feasible. To be rolled out on a global scale, they are just waiting for the political will.

The barriers preventing the creation of a low-carbon society are not technological but political and financial.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change, which advises the British government, continues to support the view of theStern reportMovie Camera – an assessment of the climate change challenge in the UK – that the move to a low-carbon society will cost no more than 1 per cent of GDP by 2050.

Unlike road use or smoking, nuclear power stirs anxieties in many of us that are out of proportion with its true risks. This is not to be complacent about the potential danger of a nuclear plant, but it is striking that nuclear power has killed fewer than 5000 people in its entire history. Compare that with coal mining, which in just one year and in one country – China in 2006 – killed 4700.

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