Wednesday, December 18, 2013

1 In 10 People To Face Water Scarcity If Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue

1 In 10 People To Face Water Scarcity If Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue

"Due to persistent greenhouse gas emissions, the number of people at risk of water scarcity will increase by 40% as the climate warms, says the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

According to an international scientific research project, known as the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), one in 10 people will suffer from absolute water scarcity if the earth warms by 3oC (3.6oF) above pre-industrial levels.

“The steepest increase of global water scarcity might happen between 2 and 3 degrees global warming above pre-industrial levels, and this is something to be experienced within the next few decades unless emissions get cut soon”, says lead-author Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

He adds, “It is well-known that water scarcity increases, but our study is the first to quantify the relative share that climate change has in that, compared to – and adding to – the increase that is simply due to population growth.”

Defined as less than 500 cubic meters (132,000 gallons) of water available per person per year, absolute water scarcity is a level that requires great operative water efficiency measures in order for water-struck countries to manage supplies. In comparison, the current global average water consumption rate per person per year is more than double that amount (approximately 1200 cubic meters. This difference suggests how easily absolute water scarcity rates could become outstripped.

The ISI-MIP project compares comprehensive global model projections of interactions of water scarcity, disease, flooding, crop yields and other issues. Its researchers found that climate change, primarily influenced by ongoing greenhouse gas emissions, would increase the risk of water scarcity by 40% by altering rainfall and evaporation patterns.

The report, to be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a unique community-driven effort run by 30 teams from 12 countries. Its purpose is to show policymakers that they might be underestimating the social and economic impacts of climate change."


Not a positive outlook, but it is our doing. For even if we completely stopped all greenhouse gas emissions today time lag effects would still be in place. Scientists state we are already on track at current pace of emissions to see a 4 degree C rise in global temperature by the end of this century. More intense and sustained droughts, floods, storms, altered rainfall patterns (especially regarding monsoons) and evaporation of soil and oceans contributing to that uneven altered rainfall patterns and sea level rise as well as a changing jet stream, sea ice loss, glacier melt are all leading our Earth to an altered state we as humans have not yet had to deal with at the elevated pace at which it is occurring.

The solution to this is simple in context but not as simple when applied to the over complicated selfish world we have created: We either stop burning fossil fuels or we will witness the complete breakdown of the eco - social systems that sustain us and that includes our lifeblood.

Even ONE in ten is far too many in a world where we have what we need to provide for all but are continuing to allow money and the power it buys to control our fate as a species. This IS the crossroads and as population also increases to 9 billion in a world where resources are wasted, abused and taken for granted we are already seeing the reality that creates. A paradigm shift is in order if we are to survive this century. The question is, do we have the courage to do what is needed to preserve our species? Our planet? Are not the consequences of failure enough to make the answer to those questions obvious?

Will 2014 be that year?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

More about this to come regarding water footprint of water intensive and polluting dirty energy in comparison to renewable energy.

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