PIK

Water supply will struggle to meet demands of thirstier world in a warming world

Irrigation CanalIrrigation CanalBy Jacob Schewe, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

There are already many countries where the scarcity of water affects people’s lives. While water for drinking may be first to come to mind, as agriculture is the largest use of water worldwide water scarcity first and foremost is a threat to food supply. And as many industrial processes rely on water availability, it also hampers economic development.

In the simplest sense, water scarcity is supply falling short of demand. Demand for freshwater will increase in most regions of the world due to population growth. Between eight and ten billion people are expected to live on Earth in 2050, as opposed to six billion today. But as for supply, water resources will be affected by projected climate changes due to unabated greenhouse gas emissions, for instance through changes in the amount, pattern and timing of rainfall and evaporation.

Climate meltdown: Global Warming heading towards 6 degrees C warns World Bank

Artcile originally published at Indybay.org:
I sat down and skimmed through the 106pp report prepared by the prestiguous Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for the World Bank (See media release). It is a shocking read, that we are presently on the business as usual emissions path of 4 degrees C  (7.2°F) of global warming by about the 2060s and 6 degrees C (10.8°F) of warming by the turn of the century, just 88 years hence.

The United Nations Environment Program warned this week that Greenhouse Gas Emissions Gap Widening as Nations Head to Crucial Climate Talks in Doha, while the European Environment Agency has warned in a new report Climate change evident across Europe, confirming urgent need for adaptation.

The International Energy Agency warned in their 2011 World Energy Outlook report that we are on a 4-6 degree Celsius trajectory and that 80 percent of carbon emissions infrastructure has already been built and is in operation. We cannot afford to add any new carbon intensive infrastructure that will continue to pollute for 30-50 years, yet the World Resources Institute reveals nearly 1,200 Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plants, the majority in India and China. But grassroots action is having an impact: thousands rallied against coal across India, and a very first Arab Day of Climate Action (Photos) organised by the Arab Youth Climate Movement occurred on November 10. In the US, the Sierra Club reports victories in stopping the coal rush.

A recent Price WaterhouseCoopers report warned that Business as usual Carbon emissions heading towards 6°C (10.8°F) of global warming this century. So there is widespread agreement from science and scientists, energy experts and experts in global economics and accounting that we are facing a climate meltdown.

Related: 4 Degrees or More? Climate Change: The Critical Decade - a speech by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Director of PIK. Speech delivered at a Climate Science conference in Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. | Another view from Systemic Disorder: World Bank's call for slowing global warming ignores own role

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