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Why bother? There's plenty of good farmland and productive forest in the world, just too many humans. No effort is required to reduce the human population to a comfortable level, so why mess about with huge engineering projects when we could achieve more by doing nothing?
Civil engineering by nuclear explosive is unlikely to be costeffective. Both US and USSR programs were abandoned in the 1960s over concern with the fallout plumes. However a nuclear reactor powered excavator could almost certainly produce a neat tunnel through a mountain range. All you need to do thereafter is to find a use for salt water in a desert. But a skeptic might say why not leave the water in the sea and eat seafood?
And two I never intended for sea water to be let through to the Sahara. Just the moisture laden trade winds.
The 1962 "Sedan" plowshares shot displaced 12 million tons of earth and created a crater 320 feet (100 m) deep and 1,280 feet (390 m) wide
Off course as chiralSPO points out, you would thus destroy existing eco systems and I no longer think we have the absolute right to knowingly plan to do that. That does not stop us from doing exactly that everywhere we go on this planet, but at least so far we have been able to plead ignorance to some degree.
a social security system that pays young girls a living away from home allowance, just for running away from home,
and pays them extra for every kid they have.
Having said all that I think you are dreaming to suggest we have the means at our disposal to reduce the Human population.
A good thing if home was abusive - the usual reason for running away
My proposal is to give every woman aged 15 - 55 £500 (AU$1000) every 6 months if she isn't pregnant. No child support allowances, maternity leave, etc. and you lose the payment after the first live birth. Overall, this represents a huge saving in health, education and social security costs and encourages girls (a) to save money for a wanted baby (b) to have regular gynae health checks and (c) to establish a stable partnership or accumulate sufficient capital before making babies.