An engineer’s confession and personal proposal

Engineers are to blame for the energy “crisis”     (Warning:  this is somewhat – ha ha! – tongue in cheek.  We engineers are proud of our accomplishments.  Should we also be a little embarrassed?)

The US government and public believe that they have an energy “crisis”. The rest of the world agrees that there is a crisis around the use of energy, but looks at the problem differently. Nevertheless, the principles by which energy, emissions and resources should be controlled apply to all the more-affluent countries. We engineers are to blame, and we should propose solutions. (This therefore might confuse you, because it means that we are engaging in a role-reversal.)

Engineers and scientists have caused our present energy problems, resource shortages and pollution levels. Civil engineers created construction systems, transportation systems, and water-supply and sanitation systems that enabled us to live in great cities. Mining engineers enabled vast quantities of ores, coal, oil and gas to be delivered to factories and to our homes. Mechanical engineers invented steam engines, railroads, turbines, oil-field equipment, internal-combustion engines, automobiles, airplanes, and the means of producing these so inexpensively that we all feel that we have a God-given right to own and use lots of everything. Chemical engineers devised means of refining petroleum and gas fuels to drive all these types of power producers. Electrical engineers developed alternators and means for delivering electric power to us all, and information systems that, while entrancing us and bringing us closer together, increase the demand for goods and services and for ever-more travel.

-David Gordon Wilson