Gallery: 5 Crazy Ways To Stop Climate Change With Geoengineering

The COP17 Durban Climate Change Conference ended with the failure to institute a binding emissions agreement, so it seems that the world's efforts to avoid the effects of climate change are at a crossroads. However while the politicians talk, scientists are coming up with bold and - dare we say - crazy ways to save the planet. Geo-engineering (the deliberate large-scale engineering and manipulation of the environment to combat or counteract anthropogenic changes in atmospheric chemistry) has long been touted as a way to counter the catastrophic effects of global warming, but has been considered dangerous by some as it interferes with the world's delicate ecosystems. However there are several schemes proposed by scientists all around the world that could offer a solution - read on for a look and let us know what you think in the comments!

1. Dam The Mediterranean

German architect Herman Sörgel devised a massive plan, also known as Atlantropa, that would establish a gigantic hydroelectric dam built across the Strait of Gibraltar. This would generate huge amounts of emission-free electricity while lowering the surface of the Mediterranean Sea by 200 meters. This would open up parts of the Adriatic Sea for settlement and farming lands. The plan was widely discussed in the 1920s and 30s, but was discarded for obvious practical reasons.

However in 1997, Robert Johnson, a retired professor at the University of Minnesota noted that the Mediterranean Sea is being starved of fresh water, due to many rivers such as the Nile being diverted for industry purposes. He pointed out that as a result the Mediterranean evaporates and grows saltier (aided by global warming). As more seawater pours in from the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean salty water is pushed out into the deep waters of the Atlantic where it causes a massive ecological problem.

As the Mediterranean water mixes with very cold water on the Atlantic floor , it is pushed by currents to the north. Normally Europe’s warm current isn’t affected, but if the Mediterranean outflow is altered by a dam the warm water would instead be pushed west into the seas of Canada where it would create increased snowfall expand the country’s ice fields.

So there you go. Want to stop the Northern hemisphere freezing AND have more land for an ever-growing population? Dam the Straits of Gibraltar!


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  1. eboireau January 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

    It is likely that a change in communication between the mediterranean and Atlantic can cause a change in Atlantic climate, but I doubt this could affect significantly and more positively the Canada climate (?freezing) than other areas (and negatively). What’s about effects on the local climate and environmental? Nobody can predict enough accurately the small and large scale effects of such a risky project, and nobody in current and future generations will like to pay for (bad)consequencies.

    Then, lowering the mediterranean level by 200m thanks to evaporation only would take several years with lower energy production at a time the demand of energy is high… Then the dam will be ageing or obsolete…

    Finally, closing mediterrannean and using it to evaporate the atlantic water fed for energy production, would make it a sink for salt. Why creating new inlands if they are dead (or costly to desalt)?

  2. eriksalkeld January 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    In a similar way, a peruvian NGO is already painting the peruvian Andes glaciers with a special ecological paint based in white lime:

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