Gearing up to tackle the climate change threat on World Environment Day
Submit Articles Back to Articles
Scientific advances can capture the public's imagination and help ignite
their enthusiasm to take on the race to tackle climate change.
Lord Drayson, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation, revealed
ahead of World Environment Day (Friday 5 June) how he has seen at first hand the
huge appetite the public have for cutting-edge green developments from
racing-car fans over the past three years as he progressed his campaign towards
the Le Mans 24 hour race next weekend.
In 2006, Lord Drayson's Aston Martin racing car was the first sports car to
win a major race running on renewable bio-ethanol fuel.
The Aston Martin Vantage GT2 he will use in the gruelling endurance event
next weekend is a revolutionary car powered by second-generation bio-ethanol
fuel, which uses spent grain, peelings and other waste, rather than purpose
After it achieved pole position on its first outing, fans and competitors
were keen to know more about the innovative green technology underneath its
At the Cheltenham Science Festival this week, Lord Drayson said:
"When my team decided to go green back in 2006, other teams concluded that
we'd gone soft. They assumed that my pre-race preparations involved overloading
on lentils; that I was driving in open-toed sandals.
"Well, they changed their tune when the car grabbed pole position on its very
first outing. Suddenly everyone wanted to know about the science and engineering
involved - and that included the fans."
Getting the public excited by how something works, as well as the way in
which it can transform their lives, can motivate people to make changes to their
own behaviour to tackle the threat of climate change.
Lord Drayson said:
"Do that, and we'll have a public that supports innovation as much for the
scientific and technical advances it represents as for the convenience it
offers. We'll have a public that appreciate how scientists explore ways to
ensure we live within our environmental means."
From warmer temperatures to rising sea levels, from heavier rainfall to
changes in health, climate change in the UK will have a serious impact on all of
us. The decisions we make now will affect the planet and our way of life for
generations to come.
This is why World Environment Day is a good opportunity for the Government to
highlight how science and innovation will not just play a vital role in helping
us make these decisions, but also be key to a healthy, safe and prosperous
The UK is already a world-leader in satellite-driven earth observation. In
March, the minister launched NERC's National Centre for Earth Observation, which
will monitor the multiple processes affecting the planet - analysing the carbon
cycle and atmospheric chemistry and predicting flooding, earthquakes and
The Government is also investing heavily in next-generation technologies like
electric vehicles and researching alternative energy sources, to encourage the
country to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. This strategic investment will
direct economic recovery resources towards sustainable growth in essential
scientific research and future-looking businesses.
1. Photographs of Lord Drayson with his Aston Martin racing car
and in his racing suit are available from the DIUS Press Office. Lord Drayson
will be racing with the Drayson Racing team in the Le Mans 24-hour race over the
weekend of Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June 2009. The Le Mans 24-hour race has
taken place in the French town for which it is named since 1923 and is the
oldest and most celebrated of the endurance races.
2. Lord Drayson gave a speech called "Can we solve the climate change
conundrum?" at the Cheltenham Science Festival on Wednesday 3 June within which
he discussed many of these issues. Full copies of this speech are available from
the DIUS press office.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the
Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-06-04 01:28:08 in Economic Articles