Monday, December 14, 2009

Water is the missing link in Copenhagen

Thalif Deen in IPS/TerraViva: When the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced the grim news that 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest on record, the U.N. agency also stressed last week the widespread water-related calamities caused by global warming.
…The devastation caused by climate change is not only triggering droughts worldwide but also, ironically, a surfeit of water, mostly sparked by floods in Australia, Bangladesh and Burkina Faso, hurricanes in Central America, heavy rainfall and landslides in Colombia and winter storms in Spain and France. Yet water has been marginalised during the two-week climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, scheduled to conclude Friday.

"Water is the primary medium through which climate change impacts will be felt by human populations and the environment," said Karin Lexen of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), based in the Swedish capital. She pointed out that changes in water availability and predictability of weather systems has put water at the heart of future development decision-making.

…Asked why water is on the backburner, she said that some hesitate to include water references in the text since they regard water as a separate "sector" and think that adding water references would make the adaptation text "too detailed". "We disagree, since water is a cross-cutting issue, related to key issues like energy, forests, livelihoods, transboundary issues etc.," she explained.

"We believe it is important to include references to water resource management in the text since it will be crucial to bridge climate and water communities in implementing adaptation strategies and programmes," Lexen added….

A reservoir in the Netherlands, shot by Vincent de Groot -, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.

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