jeudi 26 février 2009

CERES group: Water 'more important than oil'

Water 'more important than oil' businesses told Looming water crisis could unravel world economy without radical action, investors told
Juliette Jowit
Thursday 26 February 2009

Dwindling water supplies are a greater risk to businesses than oil running out, a report for investors has warned.

Among the industries most at risk are high-tech companies, especially those using huge quantities of water to manufacture silicon chips; electricity suppliers who use vast amounts of water for cooling; and agriculture, which uses 70% of global freshwater, says the study, commissioned by the powerful CERES group, whose members have $7tn under management. Other high-risk sectors are beverages, clothing, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, forest products, and metals and mining, it says.

"Water is one of our most critical resources – even more important than oil," says the report, published today . "The impact of water scarcity and declining water on businesses will be far-reaching. We've already seen decreases in companies' water allotments, more stringent regulations [and] higher costs for water."

Droughts "attributable in significant part to climate change" are already causing "acute water shortages" around the world, and pressure on supplies will increase with further global warming and a growing world population, says the report written by the US-based Pacific Institute.

"It is increasingly clear that the era of cheap and easy access to water is ending, posing a potentially greater threat to businesses than the loss of any other natural resource, including fossil fuel resources," it adds. "This is because there are various alternatives for oil, but for many industrial processes, and for human survival itself, there is no substitute for water." (...)

mercredi 25 février 2009

PM Harper: Withdraw Proposed Amendments to NWPA from C-10A

E-mail Prime Minister Harper & your MP and urge them to withdraw the proposed amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) from C-10, the Budget Implementation Act.

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I am writing to you as a Canadian citizen who has serious concerns about the proposed amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) and the consequences for marine travel and ocean conservation. Therefore, I am urging you to withdraw the proposed amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act from C-10, the Budget Implementation Act.

The proposed changes to the NWPA will have serious impacts on the historic public right to navigate our waterways, our ability to protect our natural environment, the deregulation of protection of navigable waters and the reduction of public transparency and accountability.

We understand the current economic crisis requires urgent action but our prosperity depends on the health of our environment. When we protect public access to waterways in Canada, we are also protecting the natural environment of those waterways. The protection of our oceans and rivers and the rights of the public must not be compromised in the pursuit of short term economic stimulus.

The NWPA is essential federal legislation. There are clearly administrative inefficiencies within the NWPA that need to be corrected but the Budget Implementation Act is not the appropriate way or means to make those changes. Canadians want careful consideration of changes to the NWPA with broad public consultation and meaningful consideration of the heritage right of public navigation. I am urging you to withdraw the proposed changes to the NWPA from Bill C-10 and initiate a process to determine what changes are necessary to both protect the health of our oceans and rivers and address the administrative inefficiencies.


Paul Malouf
(source: Living Ocean Society)

mardi 24 février 2009

Threats to Watersheds: An Interactive Guide ~ Nature Conservancy

Did you know that deforestation affects an ecosystem's ability to provide clean drinking water to the people who live there? Or that the location of a dam could determine the survival of migratory fish?

The Nature Conservancy’s new interactive feature lets you explore the different threats that have an impact on watersheds around the world—and the strategies the Conservancy is using to address them.

lundi 23 février 2009

Lakes are important 'sentinels' for climate change

Vital Climate Change Warnings Are Being Ignored, Says Expert
Feb. 23, 2009

Canada's inland waters, the countless lakes and reservoirs across the country, are important "sentinels" for climate change and Ottawa and the provinces are ignoring the warnings.

That's the message from University of Alberta biologist David Schindler and colleagues in a paper in the journal, Science.

Schindler is a co-author of Sentinels of Change, which reviewed papers addressing the effects of climate change revealed in numerous long-term studies presented at a conference last September.

In his paper, Schindler highlighted studies that have shown that Canada and the United States will have to rethink plans to use the Laurentian Great Lakes as an emergency water supply if a dramatic shortage befalls North America in the future. Data collected by researchers indicate the water balance is the Laurentian Great Lakes is precarious because it is only renewing itself at the rate of less than one per cent a year.

Schindler and his co-authors also analyze a study involving carbon emissions. "Recent studies show that lakes release very high releases of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, in many cases higher than the surrounding forests in the same watersheds. This has been missed in climate modeling to date."

Schindler says more inland water studies are needed in Canada because they provide valuable data on water levels, carbon cycles, acid rain and the frequency of forest fires. There are three long-term inland water studies in Canada, all of them in Ontario. Schindler is calling for more funding and expansion of the research program.

lundi 16 février 2009

Photo Gallery: Global drought

In Lake Pillsbury, California, US, a boat sits stranded, truly high and dry. A third year of drought has prompted California state water officials to urge conservation

Photo Gallery Guardian
Days of dust: the impact of global drought

Gallery (22 pictures): Water, the single most vital element for life on earth, is dwindling. From China to California, Australia and Kenya, global drought is having a huge effect. The reasons are simple and familiar – a warming planet and human overexploitation for food and industry. Their effects – denuded landscapes, mass starvation and death – are equally familiar. What is not so certain is a solution