Researcher Leonard Ornstein has come up with a simple plan to stop global warming. He proposes that turning Sahara and the Australian outback into vast, shady forests, could draw down about 8 billion tons of carbon a year, nearly as much as people emit from burning forests and fossil fuels today.
Researchers say that the project would be no more technologically challenging or expensive than some of the other geoengineering schemes that are currently under discussion. The study proposes huge desalinization plants on the Australian and North African coastlines to convert seawater into freshwater that would be used to irrigate the forests planted with fast-growing trees like eucalyptus. To prevent water loss through evaporation the young forests would be nourished with drip irrigation system.
According to the scientists this project could cost about $2 trillion dollars each year. The cost isn’t much more than the projected cost of capturing all the carbon dioxide emissions from the world’s power plants and storing it underground. The downside of this research is that the increased moisture could trigger plagues of locusts in Africa and can also dampen existing soils, stopping the iron-rich dust, which is vital for the Atlantic Ocean.