Opinion Contributed by Andrew Bonvicini, P. Geoph
Humans have engineered phenomenal solutions to large scale problems. The Dutch have constructed a landscape of ditches, waterways, canals and culminating in the Delta Works they proved that the fight between man and water can often be addressed by large-scale engineering projects. About 26% of the Netherlands’ area lies below sea level, the lowest point is at minus 7 meters and Schiphol Airport is also 3 meters below sea level. The Netherlands has now won that fight and they are safe from the storm surge flooding devastation of past centuries. We can also cite the Chunnel as a brilliant engineering effort to connect Britain to mainland Europe and the Thames Barrier as another means of addressing storm surges. These and many other projects can be deemed to be engineering successes.
However, the many fantastic engineering victories around the globe have made us think that building something is a solution for any problem. Humans may very well be able to fix anything given enough funds or time. However, we must be exceptionally careful to define what problems are real and which ones exist only in theory.
The Main Stream Media and the climate alarmists keep saying that human industrial emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) causes global warming, which in turn will cause sea level rise, which will flood all the coastal cities where huge numbers of the world’s population live. Unfortunately too many people accept these “climate change” statements as fact, when they are conjecture. They make the mistake of thinking that one thing – global warming – will cause melting of ice and in turn raise sea levels. When someone says that A is happening at what seems to be the same time that B is also happening they are demonstrating a CORRELATION. Then from this correlation, if they leap to the conclusion that A causes B they are wrong. CORRELATION does not imply CAUSATION.
One engineering firm in particular that is using the threat of cataclysmic sea level rise to justify its projects is the Spanish firm Presa Puente Estrecho de Gibraltar (PPEG). On their website presapuente.com they present two projects:
- A dam to close off the Strait of Gibraltar, and
- A Caribbean seawall running from Venezuela to Florida
The presentations are framed as mitigation projects to save the Mediterranean and the Caribbean/Gulf coasts from rising sea levels. Ironically, both projects fail to safeguard the ecosystems of both bodies of water they are trying to save. But, let’s discuss these projects and the pros and cons.
The Gibraltar Project YouTube
The following is a summary of key points in the YouTube video.
This project consists of a basal dam works which is designed to fill in the strait and shrink the passage down to a 2 km opening (1:50). The dam of “natural rock” will be constructed to a height of 100 meters over present day sea level (1:55). The dam would be “2 km wide at its base and 1 km on top” (2:05). 1,000 hectares of new land (2:10) would be created on either side of the bridge to be highly commercialized (2:15).
Of course the bridge will eventually be replaced by locks to aid passage between the two bodies of water (3:15). At (3:25) they do state that “this action will affect the seabed and migratory species but the slope of stone is ideal for resettlement of ecosystems and the ecological advantages of saving the Mediterranean coastline will far outweigh the potential harm”.
The total budget is set at 4 billion Euros (2:50) with 5% (3:42) to PPEG for management and other fees. The project is estimated to take three years (4:00) to complete.
It seems that an engineering proposal has been filed and can be found here docs.google.com/file. On their website you will also find several links proposing that the president of PPEG be nominated for the NOBEL Peace Prize and here is the proposed “ratification” of PPEG’s president for the 2017 Prize.
What could this do to the Mediterranean? Simply put, this project would spell the end of the Mediterranean as we know it. As per Environmental Condition of the Mediterranean Sea the Mediterranean experiences very high evaporation rates of 140 cm per year and without a steady inflow from the Atlantic Ocean the Mediterranean would drop by 1 meter per year. In 200 to 300 years the Mediterranean would be a salt flat. This alone should be enough to stop this project but let’s take a closer look at the forecasted budget.
Presently, the world’s longest suspension bridge is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan and it spans a similar length at 1,991 meters. The bridge opened in 1998 after 10 years of construction with a cost of 500 billion Yen. The cost converts to 3.75 billion Euros without any adjustments for inflation.
Based on these numbers it looks like their 4 billion Euro budget over three years is grossly underestimated.
The Caribbean Project YouTube
Spanning 2,400 km (2:20) from Venezuela to Florida this dam will restrict traffic into six 2 km bridges (3:56). It is also to be constructed of “natural rock” to a height of 10 meters over present day sea level (3:40) and it will be 100 meters wide at the top with sides at a 45 degree angle to the seabed. Along with dealing with rising sea levels (0:55), the presence of this wall will supposedly reduce hurricane strength by 50% (2:55) and safeguard the entire area from tsunamis (4:10).
The construction (5:23) will employ thirty companies working in parallel each constructing an 80 km section of the wall and will “finish the dam in three years” (5:30). The companies will source the rock from open pit mines (5:55) that will cover about 2 sq km and be 100 meters deep. The total cost will be US$150 billion as it is estimated to be ten times (5:31) the 15 billion dollars (1:50) the US spent to “protect only the city of New Orleans”.
The final project will include 18 lane highways, dual train tracks, oil and gas pipelines (5:08), and 25,000 wind turbines (4:20). Furthermore, little villages consisting of seaports, heliports, restaurants, hotels, gas stations and medical centres will be constructed every 80 kms (4:48).
This project, as well, is a cataclysmic environmental catastrophe in the making.
Closing 2400 km of open seaway with six 2 km openings would devastate sea life migration routes.
The Gulf Stream current that warms Northern Europe flows through the Gulf of Mexico and the western side of this projected dam as shown in this image of North Atlantic Ocean currents sourced from the Britannica (www.britannica.com/place/Norway-Current). Completion of this project would alter the Gulf Stream with disastrous consequences to the entire Atlantic Ocean and Europe.
The proposal that this 100 m wide wall would reduce hurricane strength by any amount let alone 50% is naive. Hurricanes are hundreds of kilometres in diameter, and as we saw this past season, entire islands barely affected their destructive force. Presenting this wall as an effective shield to any Atlantic tsunami is also very suspect.
Furthermore, the highway and train traffic will generate “tons” of rubber and lubricant pollution which will destroy the Caribbean Sea.
The proposed construction methods and timelines for this project are also very challenging. The proposed thirty open pit mines will generate about 6 cubic kilometres of rock. This volume of rock would only allow for a 20 meter tall wall. Implying they are expecting this to be built in water depths of 10 meters. The map on the right, adapted from the Britannica (www.britannica.com/place/Caribbean-Sea), shows that water depths along the route are actually hundreds of meters. A quick calculation shows that to construct a wall with an average height of 110 meters they will consume about 55 cubic kilometres of rock or ~10 times their original estimate.
The proposed three year timeline is also questionable. Conventional construction practices require that adequate settling and compaction time be allowed prior to installing pavement and buildings; this would likely take years and easily overwhelming the timeline. As per Gibraltar, the six bridges alone will take a decade each to construct. Furthermore, expecting to build 80 kms of super highways in three years in these conditions would likely be a record as new construction is traditionally limited to a few kilometres per year.
Then there is the projected US$150 billion total cost. As discussed above, the six bridges alone will cost US$26.55 billion (in 1998 dollars). The 25,000 wind turbines, using a conservative US$3 million installed cost, would be US$75 billion. This leaves less than US$50 billion to construct the rest of the dam, infrastructure and pay for any management fees to PPEG.
But are we missing the point that these projects are to save humanity from rising sea level cataclysms?
I could get side tracked into a long discussion about the fact that sea level rise has actually decreased and stabilized since the last ice age but instead I will refer you to this 2016 article at judithcurry.com.
More importantly I want to focus on the credibility of the “future” coastline maps presented in their videos.
The following maps are used by PPEG to present the sea level rise they are proposing to defend us from. The Europe map is from this video youtu.be/iKxuzrF2BWQ at 5:48.
The Caribbean map is from the previous video at 1:20.
I present these similar maps from a National Geographic 2013 article on their site:
The article is clearly titled What the World Would Look Like if All the Ice Melted and is a thought experiment as it portrays maps for when “all the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea” raising sea levels 216 feet or 65.8 meters. They go on to say that “there are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth” and that scientists say it will “take more than 5,000 years to melt it all”.
Do you see the patterns here?
Underestimating budgets and timelines can “easily” support the approval of projects due to their huge cost to benefit advantage. Incorrectly using data, like the maps showing a 5,000 year sea level rise, is, in my opinion, an unethical scare mongering trick. These are the tactics being used to promote geo-engineering projects around the globe to safe guard us from “Climate Change”. We, as concerned citizens, need to be aware and question projects that in the end are likely being promoted to generate excessive amounts of profits for a few individuals to address speculative problems while draining funds away from real issues like poverty, famine and housing.
Nothing like a little scare mongering to get your point across.
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Donate to Friends of Science
IMPORTANT: Please donate to Friends of Science to help us continue our work. We are a Not-for-Profit organization created to educate the public and policy makers on climate science, policy and economics.
We operate on about $150K a year and would like to grow our organization to produce more videos, literature reviews, and advertisements such as billboards.
Our operational funds come entirely from donations.
Your support helps us to disseminate relevant, balanced and objective scientific and economic information on Climate Change, and to support real environmental solutions. We do not represent and industry sector.
As we are a Not-for-Profit Organization, rather than a Charity, we are unable to issue tax receipts.
Any Donation of $30 or more will be applied to a Membership with Friends of Science. A Membership will provide you with timely updates on society events, activities, and publications.
If you enjoy our blog postings, please donate to Friends of Science in one of the following 3 ways.
1. To donate by PayPal, scroll down for Donation Buttons. Please include complete contact information for a Membership.
2. To donate by cheque or money order, download and complete our Memberhip/Donation form.
3. To donate by credit card over the phone, call 1-888-789-9597.
Thank you very much for your support.