Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

UN report: climate change could cause global famine

According to a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that focuses on the interaction between climate change, desertification and food security, if present land use habits are maintained, the planet’s capacity to produce food will drop drastically.

Yield reductions caused by climate change are already an acute problem for a number of countries. According to the IPCC report, about half a billion people live in areas currently undergoing desertification, and approximately one tenth of the planet’s population are undernourished. Famine leads to social tension and may catalyse waves of migration.

Desertification threatens huge areas
on most continents, from Africa through Asia and America to the Mediterranean region.

According to the report, the degradation of fertile land is proceeding a hundred times faster than its regeneration – and along with human activities, the weather anomalies caused by climate change are also destroying soil.

At present, 72 percent of the planet’s land area is suitable for human habitation. Food production is responsible for 21–37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in many instances the forests that could store carbon are being cleared to use land for food production. The report recommends switching to less environmentally damaging forms of farming instead of industrial food production in order to improve the situation, and it also emphasises the importance of planting forests.

“This is a perfect storm. Limited land,
an expanding human population, and
all wrapped in a suffocating blanket of climate emergency. Earth has never felt smaller, its natural ecosystems never under such direct threat,”

said Dave Reay, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, who was an expert reviewer of the report.

Increasing desertification can cause not only famine, but also social tension and migration Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: The Guardian

Hundreds of Australian towns face water crisis

Up to 180 thousand people may be left without drinking water due to the severe drought.

Water shortage threatens the Panama Canal

Extreme drought is putting one of the world’s most important trade routes at risk.

Extremely low water levels on the River Maros

The characteristic sand banks of the river have grown larger, some branches have dried out completely.

Millions left without water in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, shut down its main water works on 23 September citing shortages of foreign currency to import chemicals required for water treatment. The situation may not only lead to a severe water shortage for the population, but also increases the risks of diseases carried by contaminated water, such as cholera.

European farming could suffer 16 percent loss by 2050 due to climate change

A comprehensive report by the European Environment Agency claims that over the next 30 years, agricultural yields could drop by up to 16 percent in Europe due to the phenomena accompanying climate change.

One of the driest and warmest summers in Germany

This year’s was the third hottest summer in Germany since the beginning of regular meteorological records in 1881, according to preliminary data from the Federal Meteorological Service.

Sad pictures of a lake that disappears in Chile

In 2011, Laguna de Aculeo, one of the country’s favourite bathing resorts, still covered 12 square kilometres, and the lake was 6 metres deep – but since then, it has completely dried out.

One billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the air in Africa

The problem of the water shortages caused by global warming is much more complex than we have thought. In some parts of Africa, people not only need to face thirst but also the fact that the regions impacted by drought emit a quantity of carbon dioxide equivalent to the emissions of two hundred million cars each year.

European Union aid for drought-stricken Africa

The EU is contributing a further 50 million euro to alleviate drought damage in a number of Eastern and Central African countries. According to estimates, more than 4 million children and about 3 million pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are undernourished in the region.

Seventeen countries suffer critical water shortages

According to a report from the World Resources Institute, 17 countries are facing extremely high water stress, from India through Israel to Botswana. Many of the countries in question – which, collectively, are home to a quarter of the world’s population – are in the Middle East and North Africa.