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A Nicaraguan Canal?

Sarah Smith

Nicaraguan Canal...Truely Fossil Fuel Age thinking that thankfully so far looks to be a non starter.

This is a stunning example of Fossil Fuel Age thinking!

For nearly 100 years the Panama Canal has been the way for anyone who wanted to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific without making the long voyage around Cape Horn. More than a million ships, from bulk carriers to cruise liners to nuclear submarines, have passed through its locks, taking advantage of the world’s most famous shortcut. Panama’s canal may soon face stiff competition as Nicaragua’s National Assembly overwhelmingly approved a plan to grant a Chinese company, the Hong Kong–based HKND Group, exclusive rights to build a canal spanning the country.

The planned canal would be about 175 miles long, three times the length of Panama’s, with locks big enough for even colossal new container ships. Up to a quarter of a mile long, these behemoths can carry more than 18,000 shipping containers. Big enough to deliver a million flat-screen TVs or 148 million pairs of running shoes from factories in the Far East to markets in the West. That’s a lot of non-local Stuff! And oh yeah, the canal project approved by the Nicaraguan legislature also includes two deepwater ports, two free-trade shipping zones, an international airport, an oil pipeline, and a railway.

Now that’s some Fossil Fuel Age thinking! Of course, a canal through Nicaragua would be an environmental disaster, in terms of the amount of greenhouse gas it would generate but it would also destroy more than a million acres of rainforest. It would jeopardize Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest source of fresh water. Finally, let’s not negate the social impact of this canal as it disrupts the lives of the indigenous Nicaraguan people. It will surely deliver few, if any, of the promised benefits to ordinary Nicaraguans.

The cherry on top is that the Panama Canal has gigantic new locks scheduled to be operational next year and is more than capable of meeting future demand. Lets not also foget that thanks to global warming (yeah?) ships will likely be able to traverse an ice-free Arctic by the middle of the century. Personally I doubt this will ever really be built.

UPDATE: Luckily this while the Fossil Fuel Age thinking still persists, it looks like financing has stalled this project for the foreseeable future!




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