Could a Saharan jungle save us from climate change?

Crazy awesome geoengineering scheme: plant vast forests in the Saharan desert and the Australian outback and sit back and watch as the trees gobble up all that CO2 we are emitting.

The idea is the brainchild of Leonard Ornstein, a cell biologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who partnered with climate modelers David Rind and Igor Aleinov of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, all in New York City.

They envision desalinating seawater from the neighboring oceans and bringing it inland using aqueducts and pumps.

Ornstein says that if most of the Sahara and Australian outback were planted with fast-growing trees like eucalyptus, the forests could draw down about 8 billion tons of carbon a year–nearly as much as people emit from burning fossil fuels and forests today.

As the forests matured, they could continue taking up this much carbon for decades. [ScienceNOW]

This scheme wouldn’t be cheap, of course, $2 trillion a year the researchers estimate it would cost. Like I said: crazy awesome.

Via 80beats.


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