Global Warming Mitigation Method
By Jim Baird
``We have less than 10 years to halt the global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet. It is, simply, the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family,'' U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said during his keynote speech last August to the World Federation of U.N. Associations.
In November, one of the world's largest insurance companies, Allianz, forecast that while $28 trillion worth of assets in 136 coastal cities will be at risk due climate-induced sea level rise by 2050, drought will be a threat to many others.
Most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases has gone into the ocean, not the atmosphere. Since the mid-1950s, 18 times more heat has been stored in the ocean due to global warming than has been stored in the atmosphere.
This ocean warming causes sea level rise due to thermal expansion of ocean water and by melting portions of the polar icecaps.
The Global Warming Mitigation Method (GWMM) leverages the potential of the waters that will otherwise inundate coastal arrears due to sea level rise, to irrigate the world's hot deserts, which have the capacity to sequester as much as 15 gigatons of carbon dioxide annually.
These irrigated deserts can provide food, fuel, fiber and building materials for some of the neediest inhabitants of the planet.
A practical way to limit sea level rise due to thermal expansion is to convert the heat the ocean is absorbing to productive energy.
This can be accomplished by means of ocean thermal energy conversion, which is a method of generating electricity using the temperature difference between deep ocean water, typically at 5 degrees Celsius and shallow ocean waters, typically about 15 C, but as high as 24 C in equatorial regions, where the largest deserts are found, to run a heat engine.
The temperature differences in the Western Pacific exceed 24 C, making the region the best location on the planet for generating ocean thermal power.
It would take the constant conversion of one terrawatt (TW) worth of the ocean's heat to electrical energy to maintain the ocean's current temperatures and thus prevent thermal expansion.
The currently most viable approach to getting water into a desert environment, the only terrestrial locations capable of taking up the water that will otherwise cause sea level rise, is to convey power to desalination plants adjacent the desert.
Existing technology can desalinate water at a cost of about 1.5KWh per cubic meters using reverse osmosis.
One TW could therefore produce 5,840 cubic kilometers of the missing photosynthesis ingredient annually, which is enough to cover the world's hot deserts with 0.375 meters of water.
This could reclaim between 12 and 20 percent of the deserts to productive agricultural use, which in turn would sequester between 2 and 3 gigatons of CO2 annually.
Another source of water for sea level rise and potential irrigation is the melt water from the icecaps and the runoff of the major rivers that empty into the oceans.
Some of this can be captured and transported to the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa as ballast in oil tankers deadheading to their home ports.
The global capacity of the world's tanker fleet could carry about the same amount of fresh water as Saudi Arabia is currently desalinating at significant cost.
Korea is currently the world's dominant shipbuilder. There is a need both to adapt existing tankers to carry fresh water back to deserts as well as for more economical ways of bringing melt water from the Poles to these regions.
There is also a need for about $8.5 trillion worth of infrastructure to produce one TW worth of ocean thermal power.
GWMM presents a tremendous economic opportunity for Korea to both capitalize on its strengths in heavy industry and meet its sustainable energy needs.
Jim Baird is an inventor of the Nuclear Assisted Hydrocarbon Production Method, Global Warming Mitigation Method and Subductive Waste Disposal Method. He can be reached at email@example.com.