In a Hail Mary proposal to fix our growing climate change problem, Silicon Valley proposed flooding a desert. The proposal is one of four submitted to Y Combinator, which sent out a request for drastic carbon-reduction ideas.
The thought is that by flooding a large desert, we’d be able to grow more carbon-eating algae. The algae would live on the newly created lake and suck carbon out of the air. It wouldn’t be cheap, as estimates put the price at over $50 trillion. If enacted, it’d be the biggest construction project ever attempted. The cost is more than half the money made a year in the entire world.
Safe to say, it’s got some challenges.
The Downside of Flooding a Desert
While scientists agree that flooding a desert is feasible, many argue about the tradeoffs. It would alter the geography and weather of the region, as well as destroy an entire desert ecosystem.
Not only that, but opponents argue that deserts see the highest concentration of solar radiation. That means any water stuck there will see unprecedented rates of evaporation.
Furthermore, we can foresee some lesser-known challenges with the idea. The possibility of camel-shark hybrids that are at home in sand or water is simply too real.
While the idea is extreme, Y Combinator argues that these long-shot projects are needed to reverse the impact of the mass quantities of carbon we keep dumping into the atmosphere.
It’s undeniable that we need to do something, and who knows, sand-sharks may be great pets.