Eco Tech: Turning Sahara green could curb global warming


Eco Factor: Converting the Sahara into a vast, shady forest would help curb global warming.

Geoengineering schemes by futurist scientists may sound absurd sometimes and technically challenging at other times. However, all these approaches show a world where global warming would be a thing of the past. Researcher Leonard Ornstein proposes that converting the Sahara and the Australian outback into vast, shady forests, which would then act as CO2 sponges to draw down about 8 billion tons of carbon a year, which is nearly as much as people emit from burning fossil fuels today.

The study proposes huge desalination plants on the North African and Australian coastlines to convert seawater into freshwater that would be used to irrigate the forests, of preferably a species of fast growing trees such as eucalyptus. The young forests would be nourished with a drip irrigation system, which would minimize the loss of water through evaporation.

The scientist believes that the scheme could meet realism at the cost of $2 trillion dollars each year, which might sound like too much, but isn’t much more than the projected cost of capturing all the CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it underground. However, like all good research, this one too has a downside, as the increased moisture could trigger plagues of locusts in Africa and can also dampen soil, stopping the iron-rich dust, which is vital for sea life, from reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

Via: DiscoverMagazine