Saturday, March 21, 2009

World leaders urged to link water to climate negotiations

EurActiv: Business leaders attending this week's World Water Forum called on the international community to acknowledge the link between water, energy and climate change, encouraging them to take these up in global climate negotiations that are expected to be concluded this December in Copenhagen. Launching a new report yesterday (19 March), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) pointed to the "inextricable link" between water and energy.

Water is indeed used in the energy generation process as a coolant for nuclear power stations, for example, or as vapour to clean up heavy tar sands from which oil is extracted. Likewise, cleaning up water resources for later reuse consumes large amounts of energy. With large greenhouse gas emissions, these industrial activities are important contributors to climate change.

Furthermore, global demand for both resources is on the rise as growing numbers of middle and high-income citizens need water and energy to power lavish lifestyles and particularly transport, swimming pools and green gardens, the report says. However, some regions would feel the impact more intensely than others, it adds, urging world leaders due to meet in Copenhagen in December to agree a successor to the Kyoto protocol, to address water, energy and climate change as an interlinked issue in the UN negotiations.

Business leaders outline recommendations on areas where policymakers, researchers and business can work together to forge a link between water and energy policy. First and foremost, their report stresses that reliable water, energy and climate change data, models and analytical tools are needed to assess the impacts of climate change on water and to put in place better early-warning systems. These measurement tools should be able to account for the trade-off between water and energy efficiency, as they do not always work the same direction, it adds….

A boat passage at a canal in Toulouse, France. Shot by Traumrune, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0, Attribution ShareAlike 2.5, Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 and Attribution ShareAlike 1.0 License

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