Building A Dam Around Europe
The Dutch have proposed the world’s largest dam to ‘adapt’ to climate change. This giant sea wall would stretch from France to England and then Scotland to Norway. It would eventually turn the North Sea into a freshwater lake, completely alter the ecosystem, and cost nearly half a trillion Euro.
This is a serious proposal, but we should seriously not do this.
These scientists are not really trying to build this dam, they’re trying to make a point. This is the true cost of climate ‘adaptation’. If you want to preserve hundreds of years of European civilization, this is the cost. Either stop drilling oil in the North Sea, or dam the whole thing up.
This is the bill we are sticking our children with. If we ever build the North Sea dam it will nothing to be proud of. It will be a monument to shame. They’ll call it Damn Boomer, and curse us for our short-sightedness and sloth.
But how would Damn Boomer work? This idea comes from Dr. Sjoerd Groeskamp and Joakim Kjellson. I’ll let them explain.
‘The construction of such a “North-European Enclosure Dam” seems to be technically feasible’, Groeskamp emphasises. ‘The maximum depth of the North Sea between France and England is scarcely one hundred metres. The average depth between Scotland and Norway is 127 metres, with a maximum of 321 metres just off the coast of Norway. We are currently able to build fixed platforms in depths exceeding 500 metres, so such a dam seems feasible too.’ (Royal Netherlands Institute For Sea Research)
The dam would stretch 475km from Norway and 160km to France. It would protect 25 million Europeans from the meters of sea-level rise we are baking in, and would be necessary to protect against the 10-meter rise we expect by 2050 under the bleakest scenarios.
The cost, besides 0.1% of shared GDP over 20 years, would be the essential destruction of the North Sea as a sea. Tides and the nutrients they circulate would largely disappear. The sea would eventually become a freshwater lake. Fish and sea creatures would die.
This would be the cost of protecting the future of just parts of the UK, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. Or we could just, you know, stop using fossil fuels right now and maybe save trillions upon trillions of Euro later. And save the people on the other side of the damn. Ireland, for example.
A Northern European dam, of course, only protects Northern Europe. What about Italy, and southern France, Greece and all of Mediterranean civilization. Well, you have your answer there. Dam the Mediterranean.
In the 1920s, a not slightly racist Herman Sörgel thought to build a dam at Gibraltar to stop up the Mediterranean. This would provide electricity and lower sea levels by huge amounts, up to 200m. For example, this would move Venice kilometers inland and connect Italy to Africa through another dam. He called this new project Atlantropa.
The racist part was that this was to give Europeans lebensraum, an easier way to colonize Africa. The expansive plan irrigating the Sahara and any number of projects for the white man’s benefit.
The bonkers part of this plan was really the possible value of this land. The Mediterranean naturally evaporates and without replenishment, it would rapidly recede. This land, however, would be salt flats, not especially arable, and would destroy the functioning ports it was receding away from.
Let’s Not Do This
Basically none of these are good ideas. Continental dams would be expensive, difficult and would effectively destroy entire ecosystems and ways of life.
Sörgel was serious, but the Dutch and Swedish scientists proposing Damn Boomer are making a point. This is what climate adaptation really looks like. It’s not building a few sea walls. We’re bringing a biblical flood upon ourselves. It will take hundreds of years, but the CO2 we release sticks in the air and will slowly, inexorably drown our civilization until we stop.
Rather than starting all these insane projects, the sane, realistic course of action is to simply stop burning fossil fuels. To re-engineer our economies and ideas of growth rather than re-engineering entire continents.
If we’re damming the seas, we’re just damning ourselves. I live on an island, for example, unless someone builds a dam from Australia to Antarctica we’re screwed. Even if a dam could be built to protect your city, it will not be the city you know. And the other effects of climate change will continue apace. And the people outside the dam will be pissed. Hence this is a possible idea, but it is not realistic, and it is certainly not wise.
Let us not force our children to erect monuments to our idiocy and greed. We have to wake up and stop emissions now and move into a future of clean energy to preserve the civilization we have. Building a dam around a continent is not an engineering marvel, it’s a monstrosity. It means we didn’t give a damn now.