New South China Sea
Over the years, I've been slinging drive-by proposals for island nations in the Pacific to cope with sea level rise. These have included landfill-turned-megaparks, skyscraper enclaves and climate change reservations. In a throwaway line in a post about the floating artificial islands of Vincent Callebaut, I suggested that China should slice off a piece of the Tibetan plateau and then, in a kind of perversion of carbon emission trading, export it as flood-proofing fill.
As it happens, The Guardian reported yesterday that China is planning to decapitate 700 mountains! Projected to cost £2.2 billion, this “mountain-moving project” will level off “500 square miles (130,000 hectares) of land 50 miles from [Lanzhou], which is the provincial capital of arid Gansu province” in the country's northwest. On this future plateau will be a new metropolis with “gleaming skyscrapers and leafy parks.”
The article doesn't mention how much volume of earth will be displaced, but with 700 mountains, it's probably safe to assume that there will be enough to lift, for instance, Kiribati high above the flood waters. I say Kiribati because they recently announced plans to buy land in Fiji, about 6,000 acres to possibly act as a backup homeland for some of its 103,000 citizens. East Timor has also offered some of its land. But why move to other islands (mountains, really), when you could move the mountains to you?
Perhaps there's actually more than enough earth to save everyone from drowning. If that is indeed the case and all endangered islands get topped off, it raises the possibility that China will eventually claim sovereignty over a vast swathe of the Pacific. After all, the most important bits of the islands will quite literally be Mainland China. Paralleling its wacky adventures in the South China Sea, it will forcefully take control over all the natural resources inside its newly annexed Exclusive Economic Zones. So U.N. Conventions be damned, again. As an added bonus (or maybe even the ultimate goal), it will gain a potent countermeasure against America's Pacific Century.
But surely the U.S. will notice the whole thing before it's too late and hastily start exporting chunks of the Rockies and the Appalachians? Surely a trade war in lobotomized mountains is inevitable?