viernes, 26 de agosto de 2011

Energy, climate change and water links

Energy, climate change and water are inextricably linked. If we truly want to find sustainable solutions, we must ensure that we address all three in a holistic way. They are pieces of the same puzzle and therefore it is not practical to look at them in isolation. When you have an energy problem, you cannot resolve certainly a water problem. It works the other way, too. And if you are concerned about climate change, you are actually concerned about both energy and water – whether you know it or not. Policy makers, universities and research centres, companies and civil society are all hard at work trying to find solutions to water and energy challenges. More research and increased knowledge sharing among all these actors is necessary. Together we can break down the silos and develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Why this issue matters now
“Climate change is expected to exacerbate current stresses on water resources.[…] Widespread mass losses from glaciers and reductions in snow cover over recent decades are projected to accelerate through the 21st century, reducing water availability, hydropower potential, and changing seasonality of flows ( in some regions)”.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report

Global primary energy demand is projected to increase by just over 50% between now
and 2030. Freshwater withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50% by 2025 in developing countries, and 18% in developed countries.
Increased energy demand will produce more greenhouse gases emissions and so more environmental warming and consequently reduced water availability (of a certain quality and quantity, and at a given time, place or flow) and more increasing energy demand to get water. A new and genuine model for renewable energies and efficiency in energy and water use are necessary to meet these challenges of a probable risk.
Today’s financial crisis presents an opportunity for us to revisit the way we manage this challenge risk. We need to learn to consider critical issues such as water, energy, climate change, food, land, development and ecosystem services together. Boosting water and energy use efficiency through investment in relevant technologies and infrastructure are critical pathways to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is essential that the current financial crisis not lead to a drop in this support.
Water and energy policy need to be interlinked: Reliable energy, GHG emissions, climate change and water data, models and analysis tools are too needed to assess risk and make informed decisions or plans. Reliable meteorological and hydrological data should be collected at national and sub national levels for that too.
On the other hand, water and energy efficiency are linked, and this needs to be expressed clearly in measurement tools and policy. A comprehensive, common approach to water and energy efficiency- or “foot print”- measurement is needed. Also, policy on water efficiency should include energy efficiency and vice versa, because trade-offs and synergies do exist between them.

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