Monday, January 14, 2008

Gizmodo Does Polar Cities!

Gizmodo, a very interesting website, just did a news story on polar cities, which has started generating a lot of comment online, in blogs and in the news media. See the Gizmodo story here:



John Pratt over at Dot Earth comments: "Climate change can be compared to a nuclear war. Sir John Houghton, former head of the British Meteorological Bureau and a senior lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has commented on the lack of attention to global warming compared with the war on terror. “We have found the WMDs, it is climate change,” he said.

Global warming is, in some ways, like nuclear war’s aftermath. Excess atmospheric greenhouse gases linger, global temperatures continue to increase, the oceans expand and rise, and ecosystems alter and species decline, for decades — even centuries — after the initiating actions have ceased.

We are experiencing the cumulative effects of more than a century’s use of oil and coal, land clearing and forest burning. Average global temperature has already risen by 0.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We have also locked in a further rise of at least 0.5 degrees. Scientists believe a total increase of 2 degrees poses a significant risk of abrupt and uncontrolled climate change. We are already seeing alarming signs at both poles."


A jester wrote:

"The real estate game just got a whole lot broader. IS available?" :)



"So, if we have to move to the poles as our earth heats up it's good that Dan Bloom is preparing a place for us now. Construction to start in 2012 and occupancy in 2015. Though with capacity for only 100 people I'm not sure how this counts as a city rather than a hunting lodge."


Polar Cities

Said one commenter:

"If you really would love to hear my feedback, personally I think theidea of
expensive polar refuges for a few pathologically rich investers and their
camp followers who are willing to have everyone elsewiped out using global
warming in the process makes for a good James
Bond film concept to subvert the plans of the evil genius mastermind at the
last possible moment. It feeds directly into the part of our subconscious
that makes such stories and the ancient flood myth so compelling.

In the real world sustainable energy is there for all likely needs
andrational wants; don't dismiss the ingenuity of engineers, investers,
legislators and regulators and give those who can your support in making
sure it gets taken and is applied."

Another poster wrote: "A late response to the Polar Cities discussion .....

I agree - Better solutions exist already.

Polar Cities - This crackpot notion of a few privileged individuals setting
up camp under the most miserable circumstances is a result I find utterly

Personally I think if things get that far and we've not managed, as a global
community, to find ways of living less destructive lives alongside the other
species, who have far less control over their environments than we do, then
I think it would be high time we bowed out gracefully and allowed whatever
the next dominant species would be to have their go at it.

It's not an automatic right that we have, to inhabit this planet, regardless
of the cost, and if all that's left at the end of this destructive phase is
a small, greenish belt at either pole then why on earth would anyone think
we should be top of the list of species allowed to pioneer starting all over

I am sorry but I think the energy put into the research of Polar Cities
could be far better used elsewhere."


Global warming speeds up Race for North Pole

Janes Defense Weekly

London UK, 15 January 3008 –

Global warming is accelerating the quest for the North Pole’s vast energy resources, which are becoming accessible due to the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, Jane’s Defence Weekly reports. Claiming Arctic sovereignty is fast becoming a high-stakes – and potentially dangerous – game.

Unsurprisingly, the Arctic nations are locked in territorial disputes. Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the USA are all vying for access. Their claims may become even more contentious should energy reserves be proven to be recoverable in the vast, unforgiving environment.

A preliminary assessment by the US Geological Survey (USGS) suggests the Arctic seabed may hold as much as 25 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves. Diminishing ice coverage will make extracting resources in the North Pole more feasible.

The Northwest Passage opened for the first time in human memory in 2007 and is poised to become a premium navigation route. As an alternative to the Panama Canal, it would cut roughly 7,000 km from the traditional shipping route between Asia and Europe, saving shippers fuel and time.

No country has clear legal authority to conduct maritime interdictions, ensure safe transit of commercial shippers or conduct routine surveillance of maritime traffic. This lack of clear jurisdiction has created a major security vacuum in the waterway.

“There is a risk that the Northwest Passage will become attractive to those who wish to traffic in weapons of mass destruction, missile components, centrifuges and other things of both national and global security concern,” said Michael Byers, an Arctic expert at the University of British Columbia.

Sovereign rights to energy resources in the Arctic seabed are also still largely undetermined under international law. The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides a legal framework to govern all uses of the world’s oceans and resources, but the major players in the Arctic are still gathering evidence to bolster their own claims under the treaty. The US has not even ratified the UNCLOS.

Competition to claim parts of the Arctic seabed is likely to intensify as Arctic energy reserves become more accessible and the price for oil rises. The region could be ice-free in the month of September as early as 2040, according to a 2006 study sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and NASA.

Arctic powers are expanding their military and civilian footprints in the region. Canada, Russia and the US are investing in northern-capable research, surveillance and combat assets and boosting their Arctic operations tempo to include more military exercises, overflights and exploration missions using icebreakers. Forces operating in the Arctic region are exploring the full range of military capabilities, since there is no ban on weapons in the Arctic as there is in Antarctica.

Some experts say the build-up suggests that debates about Arctic sovereignty and security have reached a critical juncture: progress must be made on the diplomatic front or conflict may be unavoidable. The critical question is whether territorial disputes in the Arctic will descend from diplomatic annoyances to military brinkmanship or even armed conflict.

- [The World] Ends -


A new volunteer writes:

"I am inquiring in regards to the Polar City Model City, I saw a blog
post about this on I am 26 years old , live in Walnut
Creek, CA. and currently work doing technical support. I am intrigued and
fascinated about the idea of finding new ways that we as human beings to
can work, live and play in a different environment. I also interested in
participating and experiencing firsthand the implications involved and
how this changes will affect us as humans in a different living habitat.
This work is crucial for the future as the warming of the planet will
cause us to find new ways of living and coping with the changes to our

Another post said:

"Sounds good. We're very excited about this, it sounds like a great venture. Let me know if there is anything that I can do to help out. I'll wait to here from you on the Second City experiment. Talk to you soon!"


"Hello, I just read an article about your 'Polar City'. My fiance and
I would like to volunteer to be residents. I think our backgrounds
would make us excellent candidates for the project. We are young
professionals looking to start a family in the near future. We've
already discussed traveling with our future child/children and would
like to expose them to as much as possible, this would seem like a
great opportunity. I have an extensive background in computer work
and the visual arts. I'm currently the Creative Director for a small
but success marketing firm, providing plenty of experience leading and
inspiring others as well as maintaing IT equipment. My fiance is a
nurse so the added benefits there are obvious. Please let me know if
you have any questions."


"Dear Danny

Do you have an engineering design document posted somewhere? Wiki or otherwise?

I was thinking about a number of items last night. e.g. Double-hull
type construction for insulation purposes (to keep the permafrost from
melting and to keep heating costs down) which raises concerns of
drainage in the space and confined space operations.
Interesting too was city wide fire suppression. Can the city spare
enough water and how would water damage be dealt with? (and where does
it drain to?). Halon would be a great choice if it didn't suffocate
all living things :-)"


Says a critic of polar cities idea:

"I found this interesting story on Gizmodo. Ostensibly it's about polar cities, but as far as I can tell it's really story about......possibly .....gerbils."

"Have you seen pictures of his "polar city" yet? I'll tell you what it is. It's a glorified gerbil city for people."


critical comments:

''Have you seen pictures of this "polar city" yet? I'll tell you what it is. It's a glorified gerbil city for people.''

''A Human Habi-Trail... ''

A new blogger wrote: "After the End We Will Live Like Gerbils ..."

He wrote: "I found this interesting story on Gizmodo. Ostensibly it's about polar cities, but as far as I can tell it's really story about .....possibly...... gerbils.

Let's start with "visionary futurist" Dan Bloom. .....He has one quote from James Lovelock, who says "thanks for [sending me] your thoughtful images". James Lovelock is a scientist, apparently, and therefore lends some credibility to the endeavor.''

Another comment: "Our biodiversity is vanishing. At least 30,000 new species become extinct each year, a higher rate than ever before in history. Every single organism on the planet is integrally intertwined with the life of others. To make our life easier in the here and now we are slashing and burning forests, slaughtering animals, transporting organisms from their original ecosystem to others, and introducing synthetic materials into the environment, just to name a few. We are already upsetting the checks and balances of the global ecosystem but have not yet seen a devastating consequence such as the extinction of pollinating insects leading to widespread crop failure and the eventual starvation of humans. Ecologist use the imagery of a "marginal tree," that once cut will throw our planet into chaos to explain the unpredictability of a cataclysmic ecological collapse."


" I fear you are overdrawing out despair budget..." said someone....



"I fear you are overdrawing our despair budget...." said someone


Lynn writes: "Another thought. There could possibly be subterranean cities in the
hot dead zones outside the polar/subpolar regions. The problem then
would be getting sunlight for photosynthesis. Maybe some periscope-
like "sunlights."

RE: You asked a good question. These self-contained communities could be
anywhere, you are right.

But in the event that temps on Earth become so high that normal life
in the temperate zones of the Americas, Europe, and Asia becomes
impossible, according to scientists such as James Lovelock, the only
habitable regions will be in the northern and southern near-polar
> areas, such as north Alaska, north Canada, north Russia, north
> Scandanavia and perhaps some areas in New Zealand and Antarctica.
> So I am just dubbing these communities as "polar cities" for now,
> yes, if temps are not too high, these communites could be built into
> mountainsides in Colorado or France or Germany or Chile, yes.
> But the term "polar cities" has a good, catchy ring to it, so I am
> using it for now. However, you are dead right, they won't
> have to be in polar or semi-polar regions. It's anybody's guess.
> I am just following Lovelock's lead on this, and by the way, he
> recently emailed me back, after I sent him some images of these
> so-called polar cities, and he said: "Thanks, Danny, for showing me
> these images. It could very well happen and soon." He knows more
> I do. He's 88, I'm just 58....
> -- Danny
> [*re: "There is one thing I don't understand about Polar cities.
> Why are they necessarily polar? If they are self contained they
> be anywhere, couldn't they?" -- Gerard]

Anonymous said...

Lynn also said: "I'm thinking that perhaps such cities in a worse-case scenario could
only be in the polar or subpolar regions.

First, I don't think they could be totally self-contained, like
Biosphere II (that experiment in ? AZ). Most crops would still have
to be grown outside the city, as well as most game & most herd
animals. OTOH, if that hydrogen sulfide gas starts killing off all
life, then only a limited number of people who could be wholly
supported within such cities might survive. And even then it would
be iffy.

Second, the tremendous requirement for energy to air condition such
cities in the other zones away from polar and subpolar regions would
be too much...even minimal AC to sustain life. They say during other
extreme GW events in the past, the polar and subpolar regions had
tropical climates with tropic plants and alligator, etc. All other
regions were pretty much dead zones. "

Anonymous said...

In listing ways that individuals can contribute to the fight against global warming, IPCC head Pachauri, 67, soon to retire, praised the system of communal, subscriber-access bikes in Paris and other French cities as a “wonderful development.”

“Instead of jumping in a car to go 500 meters, if we use a bike or walk it will make an enormous difference,” he told journalists at a press conference.

Another lifestyle change that can help, he continued, was not buying things “simply because they are available.” He urged consumers to only purchase what they really need.

Since the Nobel was awarded in October to the IPCC and the former US vice president Al Gore, Pachauri has criss-crossed the globe sounding the alarm on the dangers of global warming.

“The picture is quite grim — if the human race does not do anything, climate change will have serious impacts,” he warned Tuesday.

The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last year, highlights “the importance of lifestyle changes,” said Pachauri

“This is something that the IPCC was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it.“



"I heard of this on in america in ohio. they aired it 2 nights ago in the show. Thought it was the best idea ive seen yet."

-- Internet email to this site