This assignment is an excerpt from Riley, D. (2012). Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems: A Textbook Companion for Student Engagement. San Rafael, CA: Morgan and Claypool. It challenges students to move between a “big picture” contextual perspective and the focused, sometimes narrow world of engineering thought.
Author(s): Donna Riley
Excerpt from Riley, D. (2012). Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems: A Textbook Companion for Student Engagement. San Rafael, CA: Morgan and Claypool.
This module challenges you to move between a “big picture” contextual perspective and the focused, sometimes narrow world of engineering thought. Learning to move between these frames is essential in forming sound engineering judgment. This assignment also challenges you to move between theory and action, between your life as a student and your life as a citizen of the planet. Integrating theory and action is the essence of engineering; engagement reminds us it is a false distinction we sometimes make between “College” and “The Real World,” between an academic subject like “thermo” and what we more generally refer to as our “life.”
Significant in this case means it must have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels, when the atmospheric global carbon dioxide concentration was 354 ppm. This is a significant reduction, but is also far from sufficient when one considers that global increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion between 1990 and 2008 have been much higher, around 40% to the U.S.’s 15%. Despite these emissions increases abroad, the US remains a grossly disproportionate emitter of CO2, putting out 19% of global CO2 emissions from human activity (excluding deforestation) while comprising only 4.6% of the world population . On this basis one could argue that U.S. reductions need to be much deeper in order to be equitable and to allow developing economies to grow.
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 International Energy Agency. (2010). CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion Highlights. 2010 Edition. Accessed June 8, 2011 from http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/CO2highlights.pdf.
 Catalano, G.D. (2006). Engineering Ethics: Peace, Justice and the Earth. San Rafael, CA: Morgan and Claypool. doi:10.2200/S00039ED1V01Y200606ETS001
 Harris, C. E., Pritchard, M.S. and Rabins, M.J. (2005) Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases. 3rd ed. Stamford, CT: Thomson Wadsworth.
 Martin, M.W. and Schinzinger, R. (1996) Ethics in Engineering. 3rd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
 Whitbeck, C. (1998). Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research. New York: Cambridge University Press.