There’s a report stating that pumping water up onto the Antarctic ice sheet would reduce the flooding of cities. Seems obvious enough really. The next stage though, not so obvious. And there’s got to be something wrong with their numbers here. Because they’re insisting that this is all ludicrously expensive and so we’d better just cut emissions instead.
At which point, well, really?[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Spraying trillions of tons of snow over west Antarctica could halt the ice sheet’s collapse and save coastal cities across the world from sea level rise, according to a new study. The colossal geoengineering project would need energy from at least 12,000 wind turbines to power giant seawater pumps and snow cannons, and would destroy a unique natural reserve. The scientists are not advocating for such a project, but said its apparent “absurdity” reflects the extraordinary scale of threat from rising sea level. [/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Ending the burning of fossil fuels remains the key to tackling the climate crisis and sea level rise, the researchers said.[/perfectpullquote]
Well, OK, but let’s check the absurdity.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]For instance, the uplifting of the ocean water alone would require a theoretical minimum of 145 GW (neglecting frictional losses), a power that, in theory, could be provided by more than 12,000 high-end wind turbines driven by the regional wind fields, which in principle would have sufficient capacity[/perfectpullquote]
Yes, obviously, this isn’t the only nor entire cost. But how much is that?
‘Leccie is about 10 cents a kW, $100 a MW, $100,000 a GW. 145 GW is therefore an entirely trivial $14.5 million. OK, that’s against the flooding of major cities? Get building this right away.
That’s not what they mean though. Cannot be. They must mean that sort of level of capacity.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The report identified investment of €10.34 billion in the offshore wind sector in 2018, financing some 4.22GW of offshore wind capacity, which works out at €2.45 million/MW.[/perfectpullquote]
So, using those numbers, call it some $300 – $400 billion. Which, actually, is rather cheaper than the entire overthrowing of capitalism some are instead recommending. So, still, let’s go do it, eh? Because, you know, the total costs here look like being less than Germany alone has already spent on that Energiewende, that process by which they’ve gone green by increasing coal emissions.
Actually, it looks like a bargain, doesn’t it? Far from absurd, we should do it.