Water policy and energy policy must be integrated, according to a message from the International Water Association to delegates at the Copenhagen climate summit.
Adaptation to climate change from the water and energy sectors must come from more efficient use of resources, technological innovation and policies that create incentives for this to happen, according to a declaration from the International Water Association.
“The IWA calls upon decision makers and the international community to recognize the relationship between water and energy and to create a policy environment that supports joint efforts in addressing global climate change,” the declaration states.
Water is used to produce hydroelectric power and cool thermoelectric plants, while energy is used to extract, treat and transport water. Meanwhile urbanization, population growth and climate change will put pressure on water and energy infrastructure in the coming decades, according to the statement.
The declaration is directed at policymakers both in Copenhagen and in governments around the world. The IWA argues that “legislators must adopt the right regulatory and economic incentives to stimulate efficiency and innovation and drive change.”
Though the declaration doesn’t recommend specific policies or regulations, the IWA cautions that climate change negotiations that address only a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient. Negotiations must consider water and energy demands because low-carbon energy sources such as solar thermal plants will require substantial amounts of water.
The IWA statement is another call for climate negotiators to address water resources in Copenhagen. At a preparatory climate conference in Barcelona in November, all references to water were taken out of the draft negotiating text, causing an outcry from people in the water sector.
The Copenhagen summit begins on December 7.
Source: International Water Association
Circle of Blue will be on the ground in Copenhagen with multimedia coverage of the negotiations.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton