Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Relax guys, I got it

COP15 is on the roll and the diplomatic aimless talks, that the UN is famous for, have started in the Danish capital. We might be surprised with an actual outcome at the end of the summit but I'm not sure the world is going to be a better place after December 18th. Many subjects and industries are to be discussed during the two-week meeting, and water will certainly be at the top of the agenda.

Isn't it ironic that climate change will cause droughts in some parts of the world whereas it will also increase current sea levels? We will have a lack and an excess of water at the same time as a result of climate change. Don't you think there's an obvious solution here?

Desalination. Yes, if we are going to have an excess of salt water on our planet might as well take the salt out of it, drink it, use it for agriculture and produce salt as a by-product.

The reason it is not widely popular today is obvious: the cost. It is expensive and it uses a lot of energy to desalinate water. We could start investing more in this industry or in its R&D in order to make it more efficient and competitive. The prices have already declined in the past few years due to technological advances, why not continue? Also, the energy provided to run the desalination plants could come from renewable sources, like they are doing in Australia today and reduce the environmental footprint.

Another environmental impact would be destroying the marine life while pumping the water out of the ocean and when returning it there. But there are solutions to limit these damages, costly ones, but they exist.

Desalination wouldn't be the major answer to our water shortages, but it can certainly be a solution for coastal countries if it is done in a sustainable manner. All we need is more money flowing in this sector in order to come up with less expensive water production and innovative solutions to limit the environmental damage to the oceans.

Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that we should stop our efforts in reducing our CO2 emissions; desalination could be interesting in the long term considering that oceans represent as much as 71% of the Earth's surface.


  1. Really? it all sounds too easy...

  2. You should have given us a third option in the voting. Like non of the above maybe...What a dictator!