Durban climate talks: day eight diary: South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is here sitting next to the Vatican, and so is the new Libyan transitional government, with six delegates. Libya is wildly ambitious and clearly already trying to revolutionise thinking on climate change and science. It plans a monster geoengineering project that would not just cool the Earth by 6C and cut carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2021, it says, but would reverse global warming, provide power for 2 billion people, lower sea levels and restore the climate of 1750.
Wow. How, you ask? Easily, says Muftah Elarbash, who describes himself as a Libyan environmental engineer who is on the delegation. He wants to build, at a cost of around $45 trillion, several dozen giant, 15km wide “venting towers” to create constant winds in the desert to drive massive windfarms which would then electrify the world.
“Once that is done the maximum ambient temperature of 26.2C will be reached in 2020 – 6C below the catastrophic threshold temperature of 32”.
He reckons that by 2080 the climate will be back to that seen in 1750. If you think all that is a bit far-fetched, then Elarbash cites the recent Libyan revolution against Gaddafi. “Libya did mission impossible in eight months with the help of the world,” he says. One note of warning: better not mention a return to the British climate of 1750. Horace Walpole, MP, records: “[The year] opened with most unseasonable weather, the heat being beyond what was ever known in any other country”. Severe earthquakes and widespread flooding followed.