Water, the real climate challenge, much bigger than CO2.

The safe, clean water essential to all life is rapidly running out in much of the world. Yet the politicians are concentrating on air pollution in the form of CO2 and methane as if a catastrophe is about to hit us. The world has gotten colder the last 11 years, and the future trend is down, unless the sun does something quite unexpected. In the meantime much of the world’s safe water supply is disappearing. The western US, much of the 10-40 corridor, Australia and western South America are using up its safe water much faster than it is replenished. In addition, what is left is getting polluted.Let me give you an anecdotal example.

A few years ago I was part of a team that made wet processing equipment for making  computer chip wafers. It involved cleaning and etching using isopropyl alcohol, hydrocloric, sulphuric, and hydrofluoric acid as well as Ozone, all potent stuff. To collect the used chemicals we had designed a 5-way output port, so the chemicals could be collected separately. The equipment was made and shipped off to South Korea. It was assembled in a brand new, state of the art positive air pressure clean room facility. The processing equipment was installed, and under the 5-way port was a large funnel, going  to the drain and directly out in the sewer.

A couple of years before, in the US we had a leaking valve, so a small amount of hydrofluoric acid got discharged into the sewage. This poisoned the sewage processing plant, and a large fine was levied. No such worry in Asia. The sewage goes directly out in the ocean to be diluted.

In China many of these facilities are inland, so large water aquifers get poisoned for centuries to come. These are the people we entrust with our future production of just about everything, since we will have to cut down on our energy use thanks to an administration  hostile to energy development, while China is exempt, building dirty coal-fired plants as fast as they can.They install scrubbers, but scrubbers cost money to run, so they are frequently out of service ( being “serviced”). This results in a large brown upper atmosphere smog extending from China to Pakistan acting as a giant heat sink.

Published by

lenbilen

Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

One thought on “Water, the real climate challenge, much bigger than CO2.”

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