In his new book Common Wealth, Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and former director of the UN Millennium Project, lists areas of needed engineering research which will help improve people’s lives:
- Improvements in battery technology to increase mileage in hybrid vehicles
- Other automobile technologies, such as low-weight construction materials, which also improve mileage
- “Green building, that is, designing homes and commercial buildings to reduce the on-site use of fossil fuels and to economize on energy use more generally . . . furnaces and boilers can be converted to electricity-driven units connected to the power grid, providing a net carbon reduction if the electricity is produced by a low-carbon method.”
(from pages 99 and 100)
Sachs writes: “The United States . . . spends upward of $100 billion per year of federal budgetary funds on research and development. Sadly, much of that is squandered, with little benefit, on military R+D for weapons systems.” (page 33)
The Earth Institute and its related institutions The Lenfest Center and The Earth Engineering Center have a remarkable range of research under way which seems consistent with the call of John Paul II for a “concerted worldwide effort to promote development.” This could be UDRI . . . tomorrow.