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11 Dec 14 18:37

King Canute (Cnut) ruled the Anglo-Scandinavian or North Sea Empire (England, Norway, Denmark, and parts of Sweden), until his death in 1035. He was reputed to have set a throne at the sea shore and commanded the incoming tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes, and though it is also said that his goal was to to rebuke the flattery of his courtiers by demonstrating the vanity of secular power, this incident has become proverbial as an example of human arrogance in attempting to stop the tide of events.

We believe that engineers and mankind today are practicing arrogance in approaching natural disaster prevention by trying to oppose or halt the mighty forces of nature instead of working with them. When this form of engineering inevitably collapses, they blame anything and everything but their own arrogance. We call this folly "Cnut [or NUT] Engineering."


Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Earthquakes, Floods/storms, Pollution, Resilience

Location: USA


2 Comments

Alicia Montoya - 14 Dec 2014, 2:40 a.m.

So you're saying we need to focus on adaptation and not so much mitigation? I would say a price on carbon would help guide the clean investments that would help reduce the severity and frequency of climate events (even if they will still occur, as you rightly point out).

ideapete - 16 Dec 2014, 5:46 p.m.

Indeed Alicia as engineers we have to move beyond the stage of this is how we design for climate change or not . CC is a historical and future event and excellence in design should understand that.

Risk companies, who are requesting resilience standards, need to enforce capital risk levels to severely limit and stop Canute engineering.

The problem of taxation of poor project conception and design is that we have moved it to the fiscal calculation column ( spreadsheet ) so made it a paper risk ( less threatening as G White understood ) . What needs to happen is risk companies looking at this should simply say NO you cannot build that and if you do your E&O and G&L is toast.

Adaption also includes looking at the whys of the event possibility ( all the whys regardless ) .

A major problem is communication. Swiss Re uses Catnet as its Catastrophic dashboard but at a recent seminar 99.9% of the Professional Engineers ( PE ) present had never heard of it so have no way to contribute to it and sadly that also falls into what are they trying to frighten us into buying column. ( the .1 was me and I have been trying for 6 months to get Catnet to communicate without success )


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