In typical “man versus nature” fashion, the UAE wants to alter the rainfall patterns in the region. The country plans to achieve this by erecting an artificial mountain, which should literally scrape the atmosphere for humidity and cause it to fall as rain:
Sometimes, these projects are nothing more than attention grabbers and pompous declarations. But our planet’s climate is no laughing matter. It’s disturbing that such plans have even made it this far.
It’s what I’d like to call “climate interventionism”. As if it wasn’t enough that we’ve worsened global warming, now we go about thinking we can understand climate models well enough to tamper with the airflow of an entire region.
What terrified me is not that the project is doomed to fail. It’s that it might work. The question we should be asking the builders is: at whose expense will this benefit you? Obviously, if the UAE diverts ocean humidity for its own purposes, somebody down the line is going to get less of it. And, as the butterfly effect^ shows, the consequences will be global and difficult to fathom.
Our planet’s air is much more of a shared resource than our rivers and lakes. Building a dam on a river has less of a global effect than interfering with massive quantities of air that was otherwise going on its merry way towards the other side of the planet.
To me, such projects showcase the extreme arrogance of man. We’re talking here about a country that wastes water in huge quantities, as the article I linked above points out. I have nothing against a country that tries to survive, but some humbleness would be expected before invoking the survival instinct.
We’ve seen many gargantuan projects completed by the oil-spoiled countries of the Middle East. Part of the heat that is currently building up in our oceans and atmosphere comes from oil extracted there. I wonder if they’ll think of this when the planetary ocean drowns their Palm Islands^. Life is not without a sense of irony.