Global warming, Climate change, CO2 capture and storage, Carbon sequestration, Greenhouse effect, Solar energy, Pumped storage power plant, Hydro power,
Desalination, Artificial irrigation, Forestation, Arid land, Deforestation, Disaster mitigation, Self-sustaining, Subtropic, Coniferous forest, Deciduous forest
Effective climate measures
By Gunnar Ettestøl, EEmsc, Vegårshei, Norway 30.03.2021
We humans have used and are using too much of the earth's fossil energy sources, with serious
as a result. And the climate change will have serious effects on the worlds economy and the people of many
countries in just a few years.
Why do we do so little to implement measures against climate change that are underway?
All indications are that we will have to use all our common knowledge to implement measures against climate change.
And the measures should be implemented where they have the most positive local effect, at the same time as
the effect on global warming is indisputable.
The most important measures are:
- Take care of and protect today's rainforest.
CO2 sequestration with comprehensive forestry programs in arid tropical and
subtropical regions and deserts.
- Construction of facilities for desalination and irrigation powered by sun and wind.
- Development of wave power, solar energy and large-scale wind power.
The components in the system above are made from recyclable materials: steel, aluminum and plastic.
The rotor blades in the wind turbine are made of aluminum.
Sunny and rain-poor areas of the world have long been deforested and turned
into dry and inhospitable
landscapes. And the deserts of the world are getting bigger, and the destruction of the world's
We allow this to happen even though we in the West have the knowledge and capital to stop this
We can contribute to the conservation of rainforests and support forestry in arid inhabited or sparsely populated
regions in the world. But extensive plans for forestry in uninhabited areas can also be met with restrictions and
counter-perceptions as a result of political and social conditions.
Norway and other countries in
the north can expand the forest area and increase CO2 sequestration, without
significant conflicts. But the tree growth, and thus the CO2 uptake, is significantly lower here than in the tropics.
Coniferous forest in the boreal zone has a low albedo effect due to the dark coniferous forest's
absorption of sunlight, so forestation with coniferous wood can contribute to local heating instead of cooling.
Planting deciduous forest, broadleaf forest with light foliage, contributes to a high albedo
all year round
and especially on snow surfaces in winter. Selection of light energy forest that has good growth in boreal areas
should therefore be a task for agricultural authorities and forest research in Norway and other countries.
Across the world, scientific staff and politicians are discussing whether and how to create efficient systems and
facilities for CO2 capture, and landfilling of emissions from large-scale industry and power plants.
Some researchers claim that they can split 2 CO2 into 2 CO + O2 with a semiconductor catalyst and sunlight.
And techniques are being developed to use CO2 together with ammonia to convert salt from seawater
to sodium carbonate plus other by-products, to desalinate the seawater to water of irrigation quality.
But for many years the world will be bound to use oil, coal and gas on a large scale as the greenhouse
European nations and industry are now replacing the use of fossil energy sources with the use of solar
and wind energy on a large scale.
Manufacturers of electric solar cells and panels are currently expanding their production plans to meet high demand.
And new large factories will be built for production of batteries for use in cars and for storing energy from solar and
wind energy systems.
The world's poorest countries are among the richest in solar energy and can, with the great development of
solar energy, have a strong development of prosperity when the price of electricity from solar energy is right also
for local inhabitants.
And large-scale production of electric power with solar energy in subtropical regions can be transferred
to temperate regions to replace energy from coal, oil and natural gas.
Subtropical regions of the world include Mexico, southern parts of the United States and Europe, the Middle East,
Asia south of the Himalayas, southern parts of China, parts of Australia and South America. And, of course,
South and North Africa.
In Norway, we have extensive knowledge of forestry, desalination, hydropower and solar energy.
We can use this knowledge to make the world a better place.
We can contribute to create large new green areas in uninhabited parts of the world with development
and building of new solar powered desalination systems. And we can pump water from rivers
with excess water to irrigate dehydrated land and deserts using solar energy and wind.
Desalination plant with 2 wind turbines:
Wind turbine rotor blades, solar collectors and condensers are made of aluminum and steel and
can be easily recycled.
Vertical shaft wind turbine in sizes up to 250kW.
The salt water is transported in pipes to the desalination plant with pumps directly driven by
axis wind turbines. The water is heated with solar panels and converted to steam with a wind-powered vacuum
pump on top of a hill.
The steam is condensed, and the fresh water is transported further in pipes, with pumps powered by wind
or solar energy. The fresh water cannot be used as drinking water without first being mineralized.
Vacuum cooking systems have a simpler operating cycle than reverse osmosis systems when solar energy
is the main energy source
To plant a dry area of 10 square kilometers, a fresh water supply is needed that provides about 0.8 cubic
meters per second for spot irrigation for 8 hours per day.
The desalination plant for 10 square kilometers needs an available power from solar radiation of approx. 20,000 kW
for desalination and approx. 2,000 kW for operation of pumps for water transport (at a total lifting height of
up to approx. 100 m). This means that up to 10 negative pressure systems must be built and deployed in the area.
Desalinated water from an evaporation plant is like pure rainwater. And does not deposit harmful
mineral salts during irrigation. By establishing new large forest areas, this will provide a more humid
local climate and a new groundwater supply, which will mean that adjacent areas can have natural vegetation.
Local clouds are formed that can cause rainfall, and the albedo effect increases and net solar radiation decreases.
This provides opportunities for agricultural management and production of energy forests on a large scale.
And work and prosperity for those who live there.
In areas of the world with large rivers with excess water, solar and wind-powered pumping systems can
be used to transport large amounts of water to dry areas for forestation, but river water is normally somewhat saline.
Irrigation with saline or polluted river water is therefore only suitable for agriculture and forestry if a sufficiently
humid self-sustaining local climate can be established before the soil is damaged by the river water.
When the conditions for a self-sustaining moist enough local climate are met, the desalination
and irrigation systems can be taken down and used elsewhere.
But the equipment needed for the facilities has not been fully developed and a significant research
effort is needed.
In the last years until the year 2020, 50 to 130,000 km² of forest will have disappeared annually due
to human actions. International organizations and the Stern report have shown that it will cost at least
NOK 50 billion per year to stop the deforestation of the world's rainforests.
Rainforest conservation is the most cost-effective measure to sequester CO2 - but not enough.
With solar-powered pumping plants for irrigation with river water, the forest area can be further increased,
and with lower investment costs than with the use of desalination plants. And in total, we can get a vital
and significant increase in the world's natural CO2 uptake in the next generation.
After 30 years of forestry in tropical and subtropical areas, the forest's CO2 uptake decrease, and the forest
must be rejuvenated. But then the world has large new reserves in bioenergy to replace fossil energy.
And we have got big new fertile areas.
Electricity supply with solar-powered pumped storage power plants.
When starting mass production of solar collector systems with direct operation of Stirling motors for
operation of pumps, one can open for electricity production on a large scale, especially where pumped storage
power plants can be built.
In practice, this means that the terrain above the solar energy plant must be suitable for the construction
of a larger water reservoir for the operation of a conventional hydropower plant. The pumped storage power plant
can advantageously be combined with desalination plants, or treatment plants for irrigation systems with river water.
This type of power plant is very suitable for development in tropical or subtropical areas.
With a radiation of close to 1 kW per square meter, 1 square kilometer of solar collector area
gives an output of 200,000 kW when about 20% of the solar energy can be used.
Or converted to about 0.5 TWh per square kilometer per year.
But forestry and electricity production with solar energy in other countries must not take away the
focus on reducing our own energy consumption of fossil energy sources where possible..