By Nasser M.N. Alshemaimry, CEO and Founder, OceanBased Perpetual Energy
In the quest to mitigate climate change, developing sensible renewable energy sources isn’t enough. An efficient means of delivery is also imperative.
Recent news that the United States is poised to reverse decades-old water efficiency standards is a troubling policy rollback considering the delicate interconnection between law and regulation. For the average person at home, conserving water becomes seamless, for example, only when home appliance manufacturers are mandated to produce products that meet certain efficiency standards. Case in point: Today’s new shower heads use far less water than their gushing predecessors, but the net effect of their superior design feels the same to a user.
While knee-jerk elimination of critical regulations may translate into political red meat, when it comes to the climate conscious energy efficiency long game, it’s essentially sabotage. Solid public policy must consider the intention behind the law, and then ensure an effective delivery system. Otherwise, the result is tantamount to a two-legged stool.
I first heard about the ozone layer having been ruptured while working as a young airline pilot in the mid 1970s and early 1980s. Indeed, the view from my cockpit captain’s chair validated the dire news, prompting my lifelong interest in global warming and climate change. Cruising at 35,000 feet or more, it was impossible not to see the thick, gunky haze in the air below, which actually formed an ugly cover over the ground far beneath.
In a project I later took on for the Saudi Arabian government during that time, I rented rain-seeding aircraft with the goal of forcing the cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds to rain over parts of that country in the hope to affect or influence climate change by turning the arid Arabian desert to green pastures. How little I knew then!
Later, with more knowledge, I wrote my first article on climate change for a local Saudi newspaper. In it, I criticized the Saudi government for depleting the country’s aquifers and water table for what I characterized as a publicity stunt. But with no change in bad public policy, Saudi Arabia essentially remains a dry lake to this day, with sea water desalination as its only source of water.
Global warming alarm bells went off this week when eastern California’s Death Valley recorded the highest temperature on earth of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius), making it the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded.
Europe simultaneously logged its highest-ever temperatures for many consecutive days, not only in the south of the continent, but also in the center and north of it. In the Netherlands, the temperature exceeded 37 degrees Celsius for a week, and in the previous year it had exceeded the 40-degree threshold for the first time in history. Most worrisome, in some regions of the Arctic it reached 38 degrees Celsius, precipitating a rapid melting of the area’s ice.
Evidence plainly shows that every decade during the past 60 years has witnessed a rise in temperatures compared with the previous decade, thus confirming an irreversible trend upward unless swift and decisive carbon neutral measures are taken.
Just a few years ago, a friend was showing me the construction of his new home in southern Sweden’s Gothenburg and asked for my evaluation of the design and my advice as a former real estate developer. Although his house was located in a cool area, the sun entering the home gave it a natural warmth. Given that in Sweden, Norway and Finland, the sun is never actually overhead at any time of the day or year, but is always at a 30-35 degrees angle from wherever one is standing in these countries, my first suggestion was to increase the glass area to the southeast or west, which is best for capturing some sun-generated warmth for as long as possible.
But his disciplined engineers’ response shocked me. He produced charts and tables he had kept over time showing that the actual problem in this traditionally very cold country is no longer the plentiful ice or frost, but rather the unusually high temperatures. Hence, his construction design plan that called for limiting the natural heating of the new house.
Further, I noted his design included a large underground reservoir that would serve to collect rainwater from the roof of the house. He explained that his country, like most of Europe (which is rich in water), now suffers from a reduction of rain not limited to the summer months, but that now extends for long periods during the spring and fall seasons as well.
As a country known for its abundance of rain and rivers, Sweden’s concern over hundreds of years has been to build barriers and dams to protect its people from water. Thus, while Sweden’s water management has always been focused on quickly eliminating flooding rainfall, it has now become concerned with conserving it.
Over the years, I had hoped that the vast amount of scientific reports and data on high temperatures, with the droughts that accompanied them in several regions of the world would lead to a radical and rapid transformation of climate skeptics. Certainly, historical records like the aforementioned Death Valley temperature can’t be ignored!
Sadly, while we have waited for a coming-to-terms and resulting tightening restrictions on the use of natural resources to prevent their waste, the very opposite has happened.
From Baghdad to California, to Paris and Amsterdam, the planet is warming, the climate is changing and our waters are evaporating. Our only solution is forcing an immediate shift in government policies and personal practices.
Nasser M.N. Alshemaimry founded OceanBased Perpetual Energy in 2012 to tap the potential of ocean current energy off the coast of Florida. As the company’s Chairman and CEO, he currently leads a team of experts focused on harnessing the perpetual power of Florida’s Gulf Stream to produce clean, nontoxic, perpetual energy for commercial use and, of equal importance, to help heal the Earth from the impacts of fossil fuels.