dimanche 15 mars 2009

World Economic Forum: Humanity is facing "water bankruptcy"

Water scarcity 'now bigger threat than financial crisis'
By 2030, more than half the world's population will live in high-risk areas
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
March 15, 2009
The Independent

Humanity is facing "water bankruptcy" as a result of a crisis even greater than the financial meltdown now destabilising the global economy, two authoritative new reports show. They add that it is already beginning to take effect, and there will be no way of bailing the earth out of water scarcity.

The two reports – one by the world's foremost international economic forum and the other by 24 United Nations agencies – presage the opening tomorrow of the most important conference on the looming crisis for three years. The World Water Forum, which will be attended by 20,000 people in Istanbul, will hear stark warnings of how half the world's population will be affected by water shortages in just 20 years' time, with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources.

A report by the World Economic Forum, which runs the annual Davos meetings of the international business and financial elite, says that lack of water, will "soon tear into various parts of the global economic system" and "start to emerge as a headline geopolitical issue".

It adds: "The financial crisis gives us a stark warning of what can happen if known economic risks are left to fester. We are living in a water 'bubble' as unsustainable and fragile as that which precipitated the collapse in world financial markets. We are now on the verge of bankruptcy in many places with no way of paying the debt back." (...)

The World Water Development Report, compiled by 24 UN agencies under the auspices of Unesco, adds that shortages are already beginning to constrain economic growth in areas as diverse and California, China, Australia, India and Indonesia. The report, which will be published tomorrow, also expects water conflicts to break out in the Middle East, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Colombia and other countries.

"Conflicts about water can occur at all scales," it warns. "Hydrological shocks" brought about by climate change are likely to "increase the risk of major national and international security threats".

jeudi 12 mars 2009

Une crise mondiale de l'eau se dessine

Une crise mondiale de l'eau se dessine
François Cardinal
le 12 mars 2009
La Presse

L'humanité est dépendante de l'eau et pourtant, elle représente une menace croissante pour cette fragile ressource. Dans le plus important rapport jamais réalisé sur l'eau, qui sera dévoilé aujourd'hui, l'ONU tire la sonnette d'alarme et en profite pour montrer le Canada du doigt.


Sous l'effet de la surpopulation, de l'augmentation du niveau de vie et des changements climatiques, les réserves d'eau subissent des pressions sans précédent partout sur la planète, ce qui met en péril la paix et la croissance à long terme.

Voilà le cri d'alarme que lancera l'ONU ce matin, à son quartier général de New York, en dévoilant le plus important rapport jamais réalisé sur la situation de l'eau dans le monde.

Obtenu par La Presse, le troisième rapport triennal des Nations unies sur la mise en valeur des ressources en eau se distingue des précédents par son envergure, son caractère militant, mais surtout son ton alarmant. Notons que la coordination du projet a été menée par l'ancien président du BAPE, William J. Cosgrove.

«Il est clair que l'on doit agir de toute urgence pour éviter une crise mondiale de l'eau, écrit d'entrée de jeu le grand patron de l'UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura. Malgré le caractère vital de l'eau pour la vie humaine, le secteur est victime d'un manque chronique de soutien politique, d'une mauvaise gouvernance, et de sous-investissement.»
PLUS >>>

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UN warns of widespread water shortages Constantly rising demand for a finite resource raises risk of political upheaval and economic stagnation over next 20 years, report says
March 12, 2009
Martin Mittelstaedt
Globe and Mail

The world faces a bleak future over its dwindling water supplies, with pollution, climate change and rapidly growing populations raising the possibility of widespread shortages, a new report compiled by 24 agencies of the United Nations says.

The warning from the UN is based on one of the most comprehensive assessments the global body has undertaken on the state of the world's fresh water and was commissioned for use at a major international water conference being held next week in Istanbul.

"Today, water management crises are developing in most of the world," the report says, citing a single week in November of 2006 when there were local news reports of shortages in 14 countries, including parts of Canada, the United States and Australia.

The assessment, called World Water Development Report, says that while water supplies are under threat, the demand for water is increasing rapidly because of industrialization, rising living standards and changing diets that include more foods, such as meat, that require larger amounts of water to produce.

"The result is a continuously increasing demand for finite water resources for which there are no substitutes," it says, predicting that by 2030, nearly half of the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress. MORE >>>

lundi 9 mars 2009

Acidification des océans: les coquilles des organismes marins diminuent

Acidification des océans: les coquilles des organismes marins diminuent
le 09 mars 2009
Agence France-Presse
Paris
La Presse

L'acidification des océans, provoquée par l'augmentation des rejets de CO2, provoque «clairement» une perte de calcification d'organismes marins, constate pour la première fois une étude publiée dans la revue Nature Geoscience.

Les chercheurs ont découvert dans l'océan Austral que le poids de la coquille d'animaux marins microscopiques, des foraminifères, était en moyenne 30 à 35% plus légers que celui de ces protozoaires vivant avant l'ère industrielle et retrouvés à l'état de fossiles dans des sédiments.

«Nous avons été capables d'établir une corrélation claire avec l'acidification des océans, mettant ce facteur en évidence par rapport à d'autres», a déclaré à l'AFP le principal auteur de l'étude, William Howard, de l'Université de Tasmanie (Australie).

Selon lui, c'est la première fois que cette liaison a pu être faite dans la nature, alors que jusqu'à présent les scientifiques se basaient sur des expériences menées en laboratoire et des simulations.

Les scientifiques ont en effet constaté parallèlement dans les carottes de sédiments analysées une augmentation du gaz carbonique dans l'atmosphère au cours des derniers 50 000 ans. L'absorption du CO2 par l'océan augmente l'acidité (ph) des eaux. PLUS >>>

Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs Chemical change placing 'unprecedented' pressure on marine life and could cause widespread extinctions, warn scientists
David Adam, environment correspondent
March 9, 2009
Guardian

Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today.

The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing "unprecedented" pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say.

The study, by scientists at Bristol University, will be presented at a special three-day summit of climate scientists in Copenhagen, which opens today. The conference is intended to update the science of global warming and to shock politicians into taking action on carbon emissions.

The Bristol scientists cannot talk about their unpublished results until they are announced later today. But a summary of the findings seen by the Guardian predicts "dangerous" levels of ocean acidification and severe consequences for organisms called marine calcifiers, which form chalky shells.

It says: "We find the future rate of surface ocean acidification and environmental pressure on marine calcifiers very likely unprecedented in the past 65 million years." The scientists add that the situation in the deep sea is of even "greater concern". MORE >>>

jeudi 5 mars 2009

Municipalité de Lac-Simon refuses $57,000 PAPA grant?

Update - le 6 avril: Municipalité de Lac-Simon announces council meeting that 4 environmental projects (TTL value = $29,300; Lac Simon cost = $5,848) will be presented to CREO for approval:
8.4 Présentation de projets a la CREO dans le cadre du programme de soutien a la mise en ouevre du plan d'action régional de protection des lacs et des cours d'eau de l'Outaouais 2009-2012
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Ministère du Développement durable de l'Environnement et des Parcs
Direction régionale de l'Outaouais
98, rue Lois
Gatineau (Québec) J8Y 3R7


RE: 8.2: Urbanisme: Programme PAPA - Participation
Assemblée regulière: Lundi le 2 mars 2009

On March 2, 2009 maire Serge Thivierge announced at the monthly council meeting that the Municipalité de Lac-Simon would refuse a $57,000 PAPA grant from the Ministère du Développement durable de l'Environnement et des Parcs.

The grant is available to the municipalities in the MRC Papineau. According to the maire, the funds are being distributed by the MRC Papineau based on municipal evaluations. Apparently the Municipalité de Lac-Simon was entilted to $57,000, out of a total $70,000 grant.

To refuse the provincial grant, in its entirety, is absurd. I hope I simply misunderstood. But I must register a complain; to err on the side of caution. Hence this letter.

Municipalité de Lac-Simon could institute for example:
  1. Joint "clean water" ventures with adjacent municipalities whose lakes & rivers drain into Lac Simon, Lac Barriere, Baie L'Ours etc...;
  2. Reinforce efforts of Madame Dubois & septic system analysis;
  3. Coordinate project(s) with l’Association des propriétaires du lac Simon ex: shoreline tree planting, "clean water" bulletins etc...; and/or
  4. Attack the sources of algae in Baie Groulx, Baie Yelle and/or Baie L'Ours.

Moreover, with Cheneville & Saint Andre Avellin getting their drinking water from the Riviere Petite Nation, we have a duty to protect our water commons.

There must be a Responsibility to Protect: Water.

I hope we can rectify this situation. Looking forward to you're feedback.

Sincerely,

Paul Malouf
CC: Ghislain Ménard, directeur général MRC Papineau

mercredi 4 mars 2009

Senators: Protect Canada's Waters

Tell the Senate not to leave us up the creek without a paddle.

Dear Hon. Senators

RE: Separate Navigable Waters Protection Act changes from Bill C-10

I am writing to urge you to support removing Part 7 from Bill C-10 and treating it as a separate piece of legislation. Part 7 makes substantial amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) that are unrelated to budgetary matters, and were rushed through without adequate stakeholder consultation.

When we protect public access to waterways in Canada, we are also protecting the natural environment of those waterways. We understand that it is important to initiate infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, but we should not use that as an opportunity to dismantle safeguards put in place to protect Canada’s environment.

In fact, these hasty changes to the NWPA will have serious repercussions for the recreational navigation, ecotourism, fishing, and hunting sectors of our economy, none of whom were consulted about these amendments.

Including non-budgetary items in Bill C-10 has and will continue to slow down the process of passing the budget. Removal of non-budgetary items, such as the amendments to the NWPA included in Part 7, would both allow for these issues to be dealt with separately in greater depth and expedite the process of passing the budget. Given the current economic crisis, the best way forward is to separate Part 7 from Bill C-10.

The public right of navigation pre-dates Confederation. It is a part of our history and our heritage. It also needs to be part of our future.

Please separate the proposed amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act from C-10, the Budget Implementation Act, so we can get on with the budget. It’s the best way forward for the environment, the economy, and democracy.

Sincerely,

Paul Malouf
(source: Sierra Club Canada)

CC: Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff