Among the numerous challenges climate change will present to the world’s poorest citizens, its effects felt through water will be some of the most hard-hitting.
The recent report Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C World Must Be Avoided, commissioned by the World Bank, provides a clear picture of the planet in a 4-degree-warmer world and the disruptive impact on agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, and human health. It reveals that between 43 percent and 50 percent of the global population will be living in water-scarce countries by the end of this century. As a consequence, there likely will be increasing aridity and drought in many developing countries.
In the face of this, the theme of this year’s World Water Day on March 22 is the International Year of Water Cooperation. Although water scarcity is often viewed as a source of potential conflict, increasing pressure from a changing climate can also be harnessed to continue a well-established tradition of peaceful cooperation on water issues.
Water at the heart of the adverse effects of climate change
At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, where a study cited the water supply crises as among the top 5 highest risks by likelihood and impact, World Bank Group President Jim Kim referred to water as “the teeth of climate change.”