Do you believe in PID-Control – or in God?

We are all familiar with the concept of the PID controller, as it is used in numerous applications in our plants every day to ensure that production is as stable and target-driven as possible. Even if you are not a control engineer, you can understand that a system is subject to fluctuations and disturbances and can be stabilized and maintained at a target performance through clever intervention by a controller. But there are also cases in which the controller is set incorrectly and the behavior of the system is completely out of control. In most cases, this occurs when the integral value (I: the long-term memory) or the differential value (D: the perception of change) of the controller is not working properly.

The Earth system has also been disrupted by two centuries of excessive CO2 input into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the controller (mankind) doesn‘t work properly here either! And here too it is due to long-term memory and the perception of change. The controlled system (Earth with atmosphere) builds up a large “hold-up”, the effects of which take place so slowly that mankind, with its insufficient perception of change, does not realize that the “pent-up disturbance” is so slow, but then also so massive later-on, that the controller will no longer be able to stabilize the system again at a later point in time.

We humans actually still function according to the archaic principle of “feeling and acting”. But we don‘t yet feel climate change clearly enough to abandon our usual pattern of action. Understanding climate change in its full meaning requires an intellectual effort that goes far beyond “feel-and-act.” We seem to be unable – and some unwilling - to do that. We just don’t believe in that. On the other hand - we do believe in gods, even though those cannot be proven at all…


Sincerely yours


Matthias Mersmann 


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