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Unless you live in a cave, you’ve either read about the impacts of global warming, watched a special on television or seen An Inconvenient Truth.

Debate still rages over whether climate change is a reality or not, and its ultimate impact on the environment and on our lives.

Anyone interested in this topic needs to read Bjorn Lomborg‘s Cool It  The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. 

Lomborg is an economist who started the Copenhagen Consensus in 2004. The Copenhagen Consensus Center brings 55 international economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates, together to prioritize the world’s greatest challenges–and find cost-effective solutions.  Global warming is just one of those priorities.

Bjorn makes simple but powerful arguments in Cool It.  First of all, Bjorn agrees that global warming is real, that human activity contributes to it, and that it will have a serious impact on our lives and the environment by the end of the century. 

However, he disagrees with the wildly exaggerated statements related to global warming’s consequences.  The apocalyptic descriptions of climate change that we see regularly in the media “make any sensible policy dialogue about our global choices impossible.”  Instead, it polarizes people with differing opinions and stifles progress.

Bjorn promotes finding simple, intelligent and efficient solutions.  The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, committed developed countries that ratified it to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by about 20 percent below what they would have been in the period from 2008 to 2012.  But looking at it from an economist’s point of view, the cost is much greater than the benefit gained.

Another important point in Cool It–there are more important issues than global warming.  Hunger.  Poverty.  Lack of clean water. Disease.  Solving some of these problems can help more people at a lower cost.

And his final argument–“We need to remind ourselves that our ultimate goal is not to reduce greenhouse gases or global warming per se but to improve the quality of life and the environment.”

Being down to earth about helping the earth–I think this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to have a fully rounded opinion on the global warming issue. 

As I’ve said before, we’re not running out of water–just running out of cheap water. 

In Florida, the drought combined with population growth is putting a strain on the water supply from existing sources. 

Typically, well water is the least expensive to treat, and it’s the preferred source for communities where it’s available. Fresh surface waters, such as lakes and some rivers line up next on the cost scale.  And when the water is brackish or salty the price starts to soar.

The water war pitting north Florida against central Florida is just a result of everyone vying for the lowest cost alternative.  But since this debate has been in the news, I’ve heard several people say that using sea water would be the best bet.

There’s plenty of it–that’s true.  But the cost of treatment is astronomical.  And there’s a couple other things to consider along with the rising water bill. 

The process for treating sea water uses huge amounts of energy.  Not good if we’re all supposed to be watching our carbon footprints.

And when you take salt out of the water it has to go somewhere.  The concentrated brine solution is considered a pollutant.  So finding a discharge location can be a challenge.

Just something to think about before everyone jumps on the sea water bandwagon.

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