Water + Climate: Features
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With freighters forced to carry lighter loads, port structures damaged by rot, ship cannels that are filling with silt, there are millions of dollars in losses, repairs, and dredging — but scientists are working on adaptation solutions and planning resilience.

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Rio + 20

Even before it started, the global freshwater crisis was a focus of the 10-day Rio+20 summit that ended on June 22. In fact, UN-Water hosted “Water Day” on June 19, the day before the three-day high level UN conference that culminated the summit

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Decades of groundwater pumping have left one of the San Luis Valley aquifers in a perilous state. To restore its health — and the foundation of the local economy — valley leaders are developing a plan to pay farmers to fallow up to 16,000 hectares. But with commodity prices soaring, will anyone go for it, or will the state have to step in?

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The worst drought in the 105-year historical record of the Colorado River has opened a new era of water scarcity that is prompting state and federal water managers to evaluate never before considered options for increasing water supply and reducing demand.

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National delegations, in addition to interest groups, are pushing water higher on the climate agenda

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Without water as part of the equation, there can be no long-term solution to climate change.

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Production from the Bakken Shale is projected to use up to 5.5 billion gallons of water annually.

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More research needed to understand risk of glacial floods.

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Big spills and bigger damage to people and water resources around the globe.

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“…Decisions executives make to respond to freshwater scarcity will penetrate almost every aspect of their business operations.”

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For two weeks in Copenhagen last month climate negotiators debated carbon levels, emissions, and balancing the financial burden of saving the planet among developed and developing countries. Still, even as international leaders wrestled with the complex mix of geopolitics, science, economics, and diplomacy, another important ingredient in the climate crisis was barely mentioned: the effect of the warming planet on the Earth’s freshwater.

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Growing supply and demand gaps.

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Water weaves through history, giving rise to conflict, collapses and creation in civilizations. In his latest book, WATER: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, economic journalist Steven Solomon examines the economic and social relationship between people and water.

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Circle of Blue introduces the first contributing column from Dr. Paul J. Sullivan, an expert on resource conflict in the Middle East and parts of Africa. In his first piece, Sullivan discusses the water crisis in one of the world’s most spotlighted failing states — Sudan.

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The close of economic journalist Steven Solomon’s book is a reflection on the new meaning of water given today’s scarcity crisis. Solomon connects freshwater’s past and present to paint a future, and potentially very unstable picture of human civilization. By redefining facets of this precious resource, however, he presents the foundation of finding global solutions.

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The current climate accord negotiated at the United Nations conference in Copenhagen is dangerously inadequate, asserted a team of international environmental organizations. During a talk at the Bella Center, where the climate conference was held, the Global Water Partnership, Global Public Policy Network on Water Management, Stockholm International Water Institute, and the Stakeholder Forum teamed up to warn that stakeholders were about to make a dangerous mistake – not mentioning the freshwater crisis at all in the historic negotiating text.

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COPENHAGEN—Seven countries, led by the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, this morning declined to accept the Copenhagen Accord that was reached late last night.

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As the Copenhagen conference comes to a close, U.S. President Barack Obama announces climate deal while Sudanese leader Lumumba Di-Aping says developing nations should block the agreement.

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The Obama administration revealed more commitments for climate action even as a U.S. naysayers, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, touched down for a few hours in Copenhagen to deny that a problem existed at all.

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Steve Solomon, author of the forthcoming WATER: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, pens a guest editorial for Circle of Blue that examines water’s integral role as a planetary climate regulator.

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