The greatest climate change crisis is water, not CO2.

The Fear spreads on Capitol Hill

And Climate change fear breaks their will.

AOC: In Ten years

our world disappears!

She acts as a New Green Deal shill.

Quote from Alexandria Occasio-Cortez in January 2019: “Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ ” she said.

I beg to differ.

We live in only one world. As a concerned citizen I realize we have immense environmental challenges before us, with water pollution; from plastics in the ocean, excess fertilizer in the rivers, poison from all kinds of chemicals, including antibiotics, birth control and other medicines flushed down the toilet after going through our bodies, animals fed antibiotics, pest control, weed control and so on. Increasing CO2 is not one of the problems, it will in fact help with erosion control, and allow us to feed more people on less agricultural land with proper management, and require less fertilizer and water to do so. In fact, proper water management is a larger problem, with some rivers no longer even reaching the ocean. All water is already spoken for, especially in the 10 to 40 degrees latitude, where most people live and want to live.

But before w go into that, allow me to be somewhat technical and give the background to why I know we will never experience the thermal runaway they are so afraid of.

Many years ago I worked at Hewlett Packard on an Atomic Absorption Detector. It was a huge technical success but a commercial failure, as it was too expensive to use for routine applications. However it found a niche and became the detector of choice when dismantling the huge nerve gas stockpiles remaining from the cold war. I was charged with doing the spectrum analysis and produce the final data from the elements. One day two salesmen came and tried to sell us  a patented device that could identify up to 21 different elements with one analysis. They had a detector that divided the visual band into 21 parts, and bingo, with proper, not yet “fully developed” software you could now analyze up to 21 elements with one gas chromatography analysis. What could be better? We could only analyze correctly four or five elements simultaneously. It turns out the elements are absorbing in the same wavelength bands, scientifically speaking they are not orthogonal, so software massaging can only go so far. It turned out that the promised new detector was inferior to what we already had and could only quantify three or 4 elements at the most.

In the atmosphere the two most important greenhouse gases are water vapor and CO2 with methane a distant third. Water vapor is much more of a greenhouse gas everywhere except near the tropopause, high above the high clouds and around the poles when the temperature is below 0 F, way below freezing. A chart shows the relationship between CO2 and water vapor:

Image result for h20 and co2 as greenhouse gases


Even in Barrow, Alaska (renamed Utqiaġvik since 2016), water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Only around the South Pole (And North Pole) does CO2 dominate (but only in the winter).

All Climate models take this into account, and that is why they all predict that the major temperature increase will occur in the polar regions with melting icecaps and other dire consequences. But they also predict a uniform temperature rise from the increased forcing from CO2 and the additional water vapor resulting from the increased temperature.

This is wrong on two accounts. First, CO2 and H2O gas are not orthogonal, that means they both absorb in the same frequency bands. There are three bands where CO2 absorbs more than H2O in the far infrared band, but other than that H2O is the main absorber. If H2O is 80 times as common as CO2 as it is around the equator, water vapor is still the dominant absorber, and the amount of CO2 is irrelevant.

Secondly, gases cannot absorb more than 100% of the energy available in any given energy wavelength band! So if H2O did absorb 80% of the energy and CO2 absorbed 50%, the sum is not 130%, only 90%. (0.8 + 0.5×0,2 or 0.5 + 0.8×0.5). In this example CO2 only adds one quarter of what the models predict.

How do I know this is true? Lucky for us we can measure what increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has already accomplished. For a model to have credibility it must be tested with measurements, and pass the test. There is important evidence suggesting the basic premise is wrong. All greenhouse gases work by affecting the lapse rate in the tropics. They thus create a “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere. The theorized “hot spot” is shown in the early IPCC publications. (Fig A)

Fig. B shows observations. The hot-spot is not there. If the hot-spot is not there, the models must be wrong. So what is wrong with the models? This was reported in 2008 and the models still assume the additive nature of greenhouse gases, even to the point when more than 100% of the energy in a given band is absorbed.

How about Methane? Do not worry, it absorbs nearly exclusively in the same bands as water vapor and has no measurable influence on the climate.

But it will get warmer at the poles. That will cause melting of the ice-caps? Not so fast. When temperature rises the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, so it will snow more at higher latitudes. While winter temperatures will be higher with more snowfall, this will lower the summer temperatures until the extra snow has melted. And that is what is happening in the Arctics

As we can see from this picture, the winters were about 5 degrees warmer, but starting from late May through early August temperatures were lower. It takes time to melt all the extra snow that fell because of the warmer winter air, able to contain more ice crystals.

No, the real climate crisis is water, not enough of it in the areas of the world where people want to live, and nothing in the U.S. is more precarious than the American southwest, or the Colorado river basin.

Many years ago the city of Denver had a problem. The land east of the Rocky mountains is dry, rain is sparse and the aquifers were being depleted. The city was growing rapidly, still small by today’s standard, but they were thinking big and looked for a really good water supply. There was one fairly nearby: the Colorado river. There was only one small problem, it was on the other side of the continental divide. They were building a railroad tunnel under the continental divide anyway, so for a few million dollars extra they added a water tunnel, with a capacity of 36 m3/s of water flow, and it has been draining water from the Colorado River basin since 1936.

As an engineering feat it was quite impressive, and the population west of the Rocky Mountains was minuscule. This has changed and the demand for water in the Southwest is enormous and increasing. Las Vegas alone is now about the same size as the City of Denver. (The Denver Region is about 5.5 million)

Let us take a look at the Colorado River watershed:

Beside the Moffet tunnel that diverts Colorado River basin water to Denver and Colorado springs, Water is diverted to Salt Lake City, the upper Rio Grande in New Mexico, and the big one, water is diverted to Los Angeles and the lower Imperial Valley in California

Much of the water from the Colorado River basin is used for agricultural purposes. This is a picture of the irrigation in the lower Imperial valley and Mexico.

This is important: The Colorado River water is all spoken for. It never reaches the Gulf of California. Once upon a time there was a good shrimp harvest at the mouth of the Colorado River. No more.

There is one state left, Arizona. It is one of the fastest growing states in the U.S

All their water has to be drawn from the Colorado River basin.

So, how is the water situation in the South-west? Right now they are in the most severe drought since 2016. Here is the map:

But there is plenty of water in Lake Mead, right? Take a look:

The water level is 155 feet below full pool. Lowest level since 2016
And the descent is much faster than in 2016.

But the major feeder into Lake Mead is the output from Lake Powell. How does that look today?

Oops: The water level is as of May 25 43 feet lower than in 2020, and the snow-pack of not yet melted snow is almost non- existent.

The extreme drought is nearly all over the South West. Mandatory water restrictions for the whole Colorado River basin seem inevitable this summer and for the foreseeable future. As long as people love to move to the U.S. Southwest, something must be done.

Yes, water is the critical resource we need to manage. It must be priority together with roads and bridges. The Eastern states has excess water. So let us build a large number of dams up the Missouri and Platte rivers and pump water up to Denver and Colorado Springs, and maybe even reverse the Moffet tunnel to supply the Colorado River basin with extra water.

This will take a lot of electrical energy. As long as we depend on fossil fuels to provide the electricity this is futile. We have to find another source to provide electricity.

These are my suggestions

  1. Do not worry about increasing CO2 levels. The major temperature stabilizer is clouds, and they will keep the earth from overheating by reflecting back into space a large amount of incoming solar radiation. Always did, and always will, even when the CO2 concentration was more than 10000 ppm millions of years ago. Ice ages will still come, and this is the next major climate change, maybe 10000 years from now, probably less.
  2. Clean up rivers, lakes and oceans from pollution. This is a priority.
  3. Limit Wind turbine electric energy to areas not populated by large birds to save the birds. Already over 1.3 million birds a year are killed by wind turbines, including the bald and Golden Eagles that like to build their aeries on top of wind turbines.
  4. Do not build large solar concentration farms. They too kill birds.
  5. Solar panels are o.k. not in large farms, but distributed on roofs and on city parking lots to provide backup power.
  6. Exploit geothermal energy in geologically stable areas.
  7. Where ever possible add peak power generation and storage capacity to existing hydroelectric power plants by pumping back water into the dams during excess capacity.
  8. Add peak power storage dams, even in wildlife preserves. The birds and animals don’t mind.
  9. Develop Thorium based Nuclear Power. Russia, China, Australia and India are ahead of us in this. Streamline permit processes. Prioritize research. This should be our priority, for when the next ice age starts we will need all the CO2 possible.
  10. Put fusion power as important for the future but do not rush it, let the research and development be scientifically determined. However, hybrid Fusion -Thorium power generation should be developed.
  11. When Thorium power is built up and has replaced coal and gas fired power plants, then is the time to switch to electric cars, not before.
  12. Standard Nuclear Power plants should be replaced by Thorium powered nuclear plants, since they have only 0,01% of the really bad long term nuclear waste.
  13. Start thinking about recovering CO2 directly from the air to produce aviation fuel. This should be done as Thorium power has replaced coal and gas fired power plants.
  14. This is but a start, but the future is not as bleak as all fearmongers state.

Thorium Nuclear Power is the only viable long term solution to our energy needs.

Here is a list why:

 1. A million year supply of Thorium available worldwide.

 2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

 3. Thorium based nuclear power produces 0.012 percent as much TRansUranium waste products as traditional nuclear power.

 4. Thorium based nuclear power will produce Plutonium-238, needed for space exploration.

 5. Thorium nuclear power is only realistic solution to power space colonies.

 6. Radioactive waste from an Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors. A Limerick.

 7. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

 8. Produces isotopes that helps treat and maybe cure certain cancers.

 9. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe, only gravity needed for safe shutdown.

10. Molten Salt Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel is already molten, and it is a continuous process. No need for refueling shutdowns.

11. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

12. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions. Much safer and simpler design.

13. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

14. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Nuclear reactors scale beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

15. No need for evacuation zones, Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors can be placed near urban areas.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

17. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

18. Russia has an active Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program, planning to meet 30% of its electricity demand via Thorium based reactors by 2050.

 20. China is having a massive Thorium program.

21. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

23. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like Chernobyl are impossible.

24. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

25. Will produce electrical energy at about 4 cents per kWh.

26. Can deplete most of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

27. With electric cars and trucks replacing combustion engine cars, only Thorium Nuclear power is the rational solution to provide the extra electric power needed.

28. The race for space colonies is on. Only Molten Salt Thorium Nuclear reactors can fit the bill.

29. President Donald J. Trump on Jan.12 issued an Executive Order on Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration. Only Liquid fluoride thorium reactors can meet all the needs

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Retired engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, computer chip manufacturing and finally adjunct faculty at Pennsylvania State University, taught just one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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