France

Climate Change Asia, Pacific Climate change, population growth and the intensification of industry and agriculture are threatening important ecosystems on the Tibetan plateau, according to a study by the Kunming Institute of Botany, China Dialogue reported. One of the most important functions of these ecosystems—a function that will likely be diminished by the changes— is […]

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Europe More cities in France are starting to return to public water supplies, pressuring private water firms that control 60 percent of the country’s water market, Reuters reported. The trend follows Paris’ decision to ditch its private water system five years ago, and is allowing cities to negotiate for better prices with their private suppliers […]

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Water Shortages A severe water shortage caused by the shutdown of two water pumping stations is threatening supplies for more than 2 million people in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Los Angeles Times reported. It is believed that the shutdown was an intentional attack by an antigovernment Islamist group, but some think government bombing […]

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Pollution A federal judge in the United States ruled that actions by lawyers representing plaintiffs in a decades-long Ecuador water pollution case were corrupt, making it less likely that Chevron—the oil company accused of pollution—will end up paying the $US 9.5 billion fine ordered last year by Ecuador’s highest court, The New York Times reported. […]

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The pain, again, is in Spain — and in much of southern Europe.

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The Carbon Disclosure Project of London, UK has released the Water Disclosure Report 2012 which summarizes the voluntary water use reports of 318 companies from around the world. 53 percent of participating businesses reported experiencing “detrimental water-related business impacts.” Notably, the findings revealed that “the Energy sector has recorded the lowest response rate of any […]

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French utility Suez Environnement will charge residents in Dunkirk, France different rates for water based on their income and level of usage, Bloomberg News reported. The French government is also pursuing legislation to make essential utilities like water, natural gas and power more affordable for low-income families. Downpours and floods have forced evacuations and impeded […]

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France, the United States and G20 president Mexico have scheduled a conference call at the end of this month to decide whether they should hold an emergency international meeting to address potential food price spikes amid a relentless drought in the U.S. and poor crops in key Black Sea grain regions, Reuters reported. A group […]

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Water rates will be slowly but steadily rising in the United States, and water utilities across the nation are likely to issue more debt to renew and expand their pipelines, Reuters reported, citing a panel of experts at a forum in Las Vegas. Water shortages could also become worse in the coming years, even in […]

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South Africa could face a 17 percent gap between water supply and demand by 2030, a shortage that would significantly impact the country’s economy, according to the new Water Disclosure SA report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project. The survey found that 58 percent of South African businesses have already experienced negative impacts from water […]

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What are “social-environmental” conflicts? Why are mining projects triggering mass protests in Argentina and Peru? Le Monde reports on the gold rush for South America’s mineral resources and the local response. Agriculture Water pollution from pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture is costing billions of dollars a year in developed countries and will become worse […]

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Ben Braga

Ben Braga, the president of the International Committee for the 6th World Water Forum and the vice president of the World Water Council, talks with Circle of Blue about the Forum next week, the Rio+20 Summit in June, and the solutions to the world water crisis.

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Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, currently has less than 200 square kilometers (77.2 square miles) of water surface area due to drought, Xinhua reported. Record low water levels on the Ganjiang River, which feeds into the lake, could cause water shortages in nearby cities. Israeli companies can use the West Bank’s natural resources for […]

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The United Kingdom has been secretly lending its support to Canada’s tar sands agenda, the Guardian reported after obtaining documents through freedom of information laws. Canada has been looking for support in Europe ahead of a vote on fuel quality regulations that would label oil from tar sands as dirtier than other types of fuels. […]

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France plans to cancel shale gas exploration permits granted to Total SA and Schuepbach after it banned shale gas drilling due to environmental concerns earlier this year, Reuters reported, citing Le Figaro. Agriculture groups are up in arms over a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to enlarge […]

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France became the first country to outlaw hydraulic fracking, after French senators voted 176 in favor and 151 against a bill to ban the controversial technique, Bloomberg reported. According to the new law, energy companies that plan to use fracking to produce oil and gas in France will have their permits revoked. A Reuters analysis […]

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The water recycling system deployed to clean the tainted water in Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant was halted for repairs after a brief run on Monday, the Associated Press reported. The contaminated water could overflow by early July if the recycling system fails or other storage options are not enough. Despite the growing anti-nuclear […]

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European airlines, biofuel producers and the European Commission have signed an agreement to produce 2 million tons of biofuel for aviation by 2020, even as debate rages over how green such fuels are, Reuters reports. Is the branding of biofuels as a low-carbon alternative to oil taking away from the discussion about their impact on […]

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More than 90 percent of Italians rejected Silvio Berlusconi-era legislation on nuclear power, water privatization and trial immunity for government ministers in a national referendum that registered a 57 percent turnout, Deutsche Welle reports. Following the poll results, the shares of Italian renewable energy companies rose on Monday, while the shares in Italian utilities with […]

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Farmers around the world should brace for higher temperatures and more frequent droughts, as climate change is reducing water availability and melting glaciers will eventually cut water supplies in major producing areas, Reuters reported, citing the the Food and Agriculture Organization. The U.S. Geological Survey projects that warming and snowpack decline in the Rocky Mountains […]

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