The Libyan government has announced the creation of what it claims is "the world’s first sustainable region". It’s backed by architects Foster and Partners, enthusiastically endorsed by Sir Nicholas Stern – and directed by the Colonel’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
The Green Mountain Conservation and Development Authority (GMCDA) will cover the northeastern region of Jabal al Akhdar (literally, ‘Green Mountain’). This encompasses several of the country’s major cities, including Benghazi, and stretches from the coast inland to a plateau featuring junipers, cypresses and wild olives. According to Norman Foster, it’s "one of the most beautiful and little known landscapes on earth"…
Sir Nicholas Stern… has given his blessing: "If we are to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change… we need urgently to build new economic and social models of development on a substantial scale. The GMCDA will show how environmental and cultural objectives can help to build a thriving and sustainable local economy in a crucial part of the world." Among other organisations involved are UNESCO, WWF and the Prince of Wales School of Traditional Arts.
Luckily, madman Gaddafi and his sons have been replaced by other people. But whether this new Libyan "project" is much more realistic than the 2007 undertaking, remains to be seen:
Libya is wildly ambitious and clearly already trying to revolutionise thinking on climate change and science. It plans a monster geoengineering project that would not just cool the Earth by 6C and cut carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2021, it says, but would reverse global warming, provide power for 2 billion people, lower sea levels and restore the climate of 1750. Wow. How, you ask? Easily, says Muftah Elarbash, who describes himself as a Libyan environmental engineer who is on the delegation. He wants to build, at a cost of around $45 trillion, several dozen giant, 15km wide "venting towers" to create constant winds in the desert to drive massive windfarms which would then electrify the world. "Once that is done the maximum ambient temperature of 26.2C will be reached in 2020 - 6C below the catastrophic threshold temperature of 32". He reckons that by 2080 the climate will be back to that seen in 1750.
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I would not be surprised if the Prince of Wales and Sir Nicholas Stern would lend their support also to this new Libyan fantasy project.