## Tuesday, April 13, 2010 ... //

### Desertec: Club of Rome to spend USD 550 billion

Desertec is an ambitious project initiated by the Club of Rome and TREC, i.e. Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Corporation of Germany. They want to spend more than half a trillion dollars and build solar power plants on area equal to that of a "130 km x 130 km" square around Sahara that would cover 15% of the energy consumption of Europe.

The two "advantages" of the project are that the solar energy will be about twice more expensive than the energy based on the fossil fuels. Also, 15% of the dependence on Russia will be replaced by the dependence on the regimes led by bashi-bazooks in Africa. What a win-win situation. ;-)

The media disagree whether this project - that is only conceivable assuming huge subsidies justified by the global warming panic - will materialize. At any rate, there's still a chance that the project will make some sense: planning will continue through 2012 and the construction could end by 2050. By that time, the solar energy may become more economical.

As Chris Horner pointed out at Planet Gore, Ms Polly Higgins who recently urged the United Nations to adopt a new "ecocide" policy to execute employees of oil companies, climate skeptics, and other sane and productive people is on the board of Desertec. That doesn't sound terribly promising for the company.

#### snail feedback (1) :

reader ErkDemon (Eric Baird) said...

According to the link, the proposed "ecocide" policy is not about killing people who oppose the environmental movement, it's about inventing a new criminal offence called "ecocide" that relates to damaging the environment. Destroying forests by mass logging, poisoning rivers, desertifying land by over-irrigating with brackish water, oil spills, that sort of thing.

The idea is that it'd allow company executives to be prosecuted for damaging collective resources without having to prove that specific people's interests were harmed.

It's an interesting idea, but it'd need a lot of work (and a new name). For instance, if we plastered solar panels over the Sahara and reduced local temperatures, and created shade, and the structures encouraged condensation, new vegetation might start springing up around the solar installations. If we accidentally "greened" the Sahara, would this count as damaging a unique natural environment?

And if we're talking about criminalising the destruction of resources, then perhaps the UK government's irrevocable decision to shut down large sections of the UK's coalmining industry would be considered an offence, too ... that decision eliminated a big chunk of the then-EU's strategic reserves of high-quality coal, and I know that there were supposed to have been a lot of Germans who would have loved to have had those reserves (most of Germany's coal is supposed to be nasty, state-subsidised open-cast stuff), and probably considered the UK decision to be criminal damage to Europe's collective resources.

I guess it'd also mean that in warring regions, occupying forces would have to think twice before deliberately poisoning wells or rivers, or setting light to oilfields as acts of revenge.

I don't know how you'd quantify these things or decide penalties, though.

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