Monday, September 18, 2023
Sea water desalination, the process by which sea water is made potable, or drinkable, has been a holy grail for sea adjacent, water starved regions around the world. From California to Israel, Egypt to Yemen and all of Northern Africa such would be a boon. In recent decades Israel has made major strides in developing this technology. Yes, the water produced is expensive compared to water pumped from a natural source, but to a place like Israel (or California) where there is no other choice, it makes life sustainable. Ah, but in this world, not so fast….
You see, desalination uses energy – a lot of energy. And so:
Lacking lakes, rivers and regular rainfall, Saudi Arabia today relies instead on dozens of facilities that transform water from the Gulf and Red Sea into something potable, supplying cities and towns that otherwise would not survive.
But the kingdom’s growing desalination needs –- fuelled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s dreams of presiding over a global business and tourism hub –- risk clashing with its sustainability goals, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2060.
Does this sound like a hard choice to anyone but the climate crazies? The actual survival of existing “cities and towns” vs. a potential change in the climate that we can figure out as it happens? (If it happens.) Seriously?!?! In a question of fear against fact, should fear win?
This story crystalizes the essential question in the climate change discussion – risk tolerance. Are the models good or bad? We don’t know for sure so, there is some risk there. Is global warming man-made or natural? Both? How much from each? Again, we don’t know, so risk. Will the seas rise? How much? Uhhhh, not sure, so risk.
I think the thing that bothers so many people about the entire issue is that the crazies lack confidence in their ability to cope with the unknown. This nation is built on people with confidence in their ability to cope with the unknown. Whether it is the initial settlers that truly had no idea where they were going or what they would run into to the countless entrepreneurs that have stepped off the plank into the no paycheck abyss, success in this nation is based on people taking risks and dealing with the unknown when they encountered it.
But moreover, these anti-risk nannies insist on finding doom in success. Saudi Aribia stands to transform a literal sand dune desert of nomads in search of water into a modern functional nation. “But no,” say the crazies, “something bad might happen, we can’t permit that.” The sheer pessimism, the utter lack of joy, is just irritating.
We are a nation built on hope, confidence and the willingness to take a risk based upon that hope and confidence. Take that away from us and we cease to be the same nation.