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

Major cities that could share the fate of Cape Town

Cape Town’s historic water crisis was a wake-up call for the entire world. Something that had previously been unimaginable happened. If the targets set in the Paris Agreement are not reached, there is reason to fear that many other major cities could suffer a similar fate within a few decades. The example of Cape Town is a timely warning that chronic water shortages are already just around the corner.

Innovative solution: The Water Retainer in Morocco

Only 1 percent of the World’s water is available fresh water and 70 percent of that is used by agriculture. Morocco is one of the countries facing the crises of less rain, drier topsoil and increasing population.

The last drops: seven bodies of water threatened by drying up

Climate change is increasingly depleting the water resources of the world – in many places, drinking water shortages are already a serious problem. The shocking images below tell a story about Earth’s largest bodies of water that we can no longer ignore.

What will become of you, Africa?

We have known for some time that a number of countries in Africa are particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming on account of their positions alone. A recent study warns that the situation is even worse than we had previously thought.

Water scarcity leading to political conflict

Political tension caused by water shortages was also a feature of the history of the 20th century, and today, there is fighting in a number of zones where the lack of water was one of the initial causes of the conflict.

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.