I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Climate Change and Water

You would think that anyone who has been blethering on about climate change as much as I have would know about the connections between water, climate change, and energy usage.  However, I did not until I found a paper entitled Climate Change and the Global Water Crisis: What Businessess Need to Know and Do at                           http://www.pacinst.org/reports/ungc_climate_water/index.htm
Water  is used for extracting, refining, processing, and transporting all forms of energy, from coal to solar.  Large volumes of water are used as cooling water in conventional thermal generating plants. Energy production can also cause signicant water pollution.  A much less recognized connection between water and energy are the vast amounts of energy used to treat, distribute, and use water. Water is heavy . . . .Energy needs are particularly high for places where water is .... piped over long distances and steep terrain.
Climate change will increase water demand due to droughts; reduce the quality of available because of sea level rises and extreme flooding (does anyone remember the lack of drinking water in Haiti after Hurricane Jeanne dumped two meters of water in 36 hours?;) and melt the glaciers that supply water to China, Pakistan, Indian , and western Canada .

The authors of the paper suggest that companies should manage their risk in various ways.  To me, the most important is that businesses 
seek opportunities for collective action as water and energy are connected to social, cultural, and environmental issues ... by pooling resources and bringing together a wide range of expertise and knowledge through partnerships for a common goal.
A velvet climate revolution will require us all to pool our knowledge and expertise in pursuit of the common goal: survival.  And presumaly, we all wish for more than a mere Hobbesian survival:  we all want a  socially and environmentally just culture living within  limits imposed by the environement.   Cooperation is and will be absolutely necessary - between people, nations, and businesses.

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