[GWSG] Analysis of COP25's weaknesses; A robot sub for Thwaites; Floridan aquifer in trouble; Nestle's thirst

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Mon Dec 30 15:09:41 EST 2019

1. COP25 did not deliver what it should have. In this PhysOrg analysis the failure came from five factors: amateur leadership by the host Chile, “hundreds of high-octane fossil fuel lobbyists” wagging discussions, the Trump Effect of sabotaging the Paris agreement even as the US abandons the talks, China’s insistence on strong actions to match its own (particularly from the EU), and a general movement toward reactionary politics at the expense of multilateral action. Perhaps the growing popular concern will push governments to action. The insistence of the UN that all concerned parties be included in discussions, even fossil fuel agents focused with feral intensity on ends incidentally ecocidal, may mean that the UN will not be able to handle the climate crisis.  https://phys.org/news/2019-12-cop25-climate.html

2.  Thwaites glacier in the West Antarctic, as large as Florida, is melting at an increasing rate. A heroic mission to insert a small robotic submarine to inspect its base will complete this March. The results will influence sea level rise projections.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/28/submarine-to-explore-why-antarctic-glacier-is-melting-so-quickly

3. In an editorial “Protecting Florida’s Water” on December 30, 2019, the Florida Times-Union argues that we need to begin conserving water and charging for withdrawals by commercial interests. “When aquifer supplies are no longer available—which is the case in parts of South Florida and is predicted for Jacksonville within a decade—the options get very expensive.” (Page A5) The Floridan aquifer system , from which Jacksonville draws its water, flows slowly from north to south. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floridan_aquifer

As wells in Jacksonville are salinized, then wells to the south will become compromised as well, or soon will be (if they are not already on their own from local saltwater intrusion). The aquifer is already salinized south of Lake Okeechobee. We apparently will need to desalinate water, or to replace it, perhaps from rainwater harvested in cisterns, in the near future. The editorial recommends green roofs (to utilize rain) and pervious pavement (to recharge groundwater) as well as cisterns. I would be glad to hear and pass along information from water experts on this list about the situation and our options.

4. Here is an article from last September on Nestle’s plans to bottle and sell water from the aquifer. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/15/opinion/bottled-water-is-sucking-florida-dry.html  Nestle is acquiring the water from Seven Springs Water, whose withdrawal permit expires at the end of this year. They have applied for a five-year extension, according to the editorial in the last item.

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