Construction Estimate

The question is what’s our exposure on global warming.

For one small part of it we may need to build a 10 foot high sea wall on the entire world coastline. My guestimate is that that would be about $5,000/ft for the cost of straight forward construction on solid ground. It would be far less than the reimbursement of property owners for the first 10 ft elevation of their property. The earth’s coastline is about 844,000 km, though I doubt that includes the intricacies of wetlands and estuaries etc.

The places where environmental protection, waterfront access or shipping locks and other things are needed would also add to the cost. Maybe you’d just say screw it and screw them with half the world’s coastline and cut the losses with that part of it. The places that wouldn’t be saved from rising waters by a sea wall include big sand bars like Long Island New York.

It’s just a pile of sand, and it leaks. They already have a problem with salt polution of limited fresh water and ten feet of sea water might make it largely uninhabitable anyway. Given that we take a few losses like that, the base cost of the sea wall is about $13 trillion, with some significant upside risk and liability and some embarrassing possible savings. Hmmm…. What could we do with a spare $13 trillion and the remaining shreads of our integrity (as if we had it to spare) ?

-a great lecture on the paleoclimatology http://www.agu.org/webcast/Overpeck.html

Looking up the cost of scrubbing the CO2 you find various things, that maybe there’s no way to do it, from an environmental group (http://groups.msn.com/AAEA/carbondioxide.msnw), and that “direct air-CO2 capture may be able to compete with technologies for reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles and other small or mobile sources” from University of Calgary researchers (http://www.businessedge.ca/article.cfm/newsID/10181.cfm).

Their plan is to use direct air extraction of CO2 in locations where there are efficient ground storage strata. If that worked it would allow global barter of licensed pollution shares and control of greenhouse warming without changing all our energy technologies. Hay, I got an idea, lets do that!

Note, this is hardly a comprehensive review of the technologies out there, but I think quite accurate about the relative panic situation we are actually in. Yes the cheapest CO2 reduction measures at present are probably still in conservation, but conservation is inherently a diminishing return and producing multiplying returns with it is contradictory. Yea it’s complicated, but let’s hope someone around here is about to take the Earth seriously.

There’s still an obvious question, where do we even get the money for the cheaper solutions? Here’s where I gloss over all the details and leave you with a disconnect. The one large uncommitted asset for change is always the returns on investment, the flow of funds individuals usually use to reinvest and multiply their personal influence and future returns in a changing world.

In all natural systems that same flow seems to exist, but gets passed on freely, effectively composed of rewards for good work received passed on as rewards for good work done. It’s the pass-through of legitimate earnings into legitimate earnings that gets blocked by reinvestment and is causing the mounting 600 year bubble we’re presently in. See, I glossed over everything and left you with two ropes, one in each hand, and maybe no way to connect…

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