Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Climate Change, Sustainable Engineering & Technology

Bhavik R. Bakshi

Edited by Ellie Pawsey,
Marketing Executive, Cambridge University Press

How can technology help us create a greener future?

The UK is hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.

“The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26.”

An important part of how we mitigate climate change is how we create technology to become more sustainable.

Bhavik R. Bakshi,
a Professor at Ohio State University and author of Sustainable Engineering: Principles and Practice, explains some of the concepts and approaches related to technology for sustainability and mitigating climate change: “Decarbonization of industrial activities is essential for addressing the challenge of climate change. Many efforts in this direction involve electrification of manufacturing processes particularly for generating hydrogen and heat that currently uses natural gas. Efforts for carbon capture, conversion, utilization and storage are also needed.”

But, of course, this is not as easy to do as it is to say, and there are many challenges along the way. Professor Bakshi notes that, “In addition to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from industry, it is also important that the solution does not shift the environmental impact from climate change to other categories. For example reliance on renewable energy could increase the environmental damage caused by mining, and the lack of recycling infrastructure could increase waste generation.”

And it’s not the only risk. Shifting to new technologies may have a human impact. For example, Professor Bakshi points out, “Conversion of carbon dioxide to other chemicals is likely to require large quantities of water and may worsen existing water scarcities.”

This all means, Professor Bakshi explains, that, “Systems approaches from Sustainable Engineering must be used to reduce the chance of unintended harm and to make sure that the new solution respects nature’s carrying capacity.”

In Sustainable Engineering, Bhavik R. Bakshi demonstrates that engineers and conservationists can be important allies. Using a variety of real-world examples and detailed case studies, Bakshi makes the case that engineering practices can lead to a sustainable future.’

-Mark R. Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy and author of Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature

Find out more:
Visit the Sustainable Engineering: Principles and Practice book page

Interested in running a course on Sustainable Engineering?
Request an exam copy

About The Author

Bhavik R. Bakshi

Bhavik R. Bakshi is the Morrow Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Ohio State University (OSU). He also holds appointments in Civil, Environmental and Geodeti...

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