Smart grids could save our world, but the planet itself doesn’t care – it has seen worse, says climate change expert Gabrielle Walker
Technology and energy experts have been warned about being complacent in the face of climate change by a leading green expert.
Speaking at the HP Executive Energy Conference in Dubai this week, climate change expert Gabrielle Walker told the audience of technology and energy industry executives that climate change was an opportunity, not something to be feared.
“There is an opportunity for leadership here. Governments are scrambling about and looking for leadership in the business community and the energy community especially,” she said. “Climate change is a concern but there is also a big opportunity to fix it – and make money from fixing it.”
The Hot Topic
Walker, who co-authored the best-selling climate change book “The Hot Topic” with UK chief scientist Sir David King, said that climate change wasn’t a threat to the planet but to the current conditions that man had grown accustomed to.
“This about saving the world – The planet doesn’t care. It has been hotter and colder than this in the past – it doesn’t care – but the climate that we have at the moment is the one we have been adapted to and if we change it we won’t be adapted to it anymore,” she said.
Melting permafrost and drunken trees
Indicators that climate change is accelerating include melting permafrost, which Walker said could prove catastrophic. “One of the indicators of climate change are these drunken trees. They are lurching over in the permafrost of Canada and Siberia. They are falling over because the permafrost is melting,”she said. “ We don’t know how much it is melting yet but one thing we do know is that there is a lot of carbon down there. If this all starts to rot then the climate will run away. It doesn’t matter how much oil we burn then – all bets are off.”
Walker said it was up to the energy industry and other sectors to develop technologies and business models that would help to curb carbon emissions.
She cited technologies such as carbon capture and storage and smart grids as being key ways to tackle emissions. With regard to smart grids, Walker said that while costs would ultimately be passed onto consumers, there were benefits to balance the added expense.