The Stream, January 15: Water Seen As Top Global Risk

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Water was rated, for the first time, as the top global risk today by the World Economic Forum. The Pope said mankind is mostly to blame for global climate change, and researchers found that sea level rise accelerated more in the past 20 years than previously thought. China said it met its 2014 pollution reduction goals, scientists worry ballast water is not being adequately treated for pathogens, and contaminated drinking water in California has been linked to increased obesity and diabetes. A court decision is expected soon in a case over water erosion in Colombia. Floods have displaced thousands in Malawi, while communities in Kenya want the country to speed up its search for new water. Brazil is asking banks to lengthen the terms of their loans to power companies, which have been hit by low water levels.

“I don’t know if it is all [man’s fault] but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature.”–Pope Francis, responding to questions about his views on mankind’s role in global climate change. The Pope also expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the Lima climate talks. (Guardian)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

75,000 people Number forced to leave their homes by floods in Malawi, where the president has declared a state of national disaster. Bloomberg

$6.8 billion Amount of loans Brazilian banks gave to power distributors last year as they faced troubles from low water levels at hydropower facilities, which the country is now asking them to extend. Reuters


Science, Studies, And Reports

The World Economic Forum identified water as the top risk for the first time in its tenth global risk report. Water was the third-rated risk last year. Circle of Blue

The acceleration of the rate of global sea level rise was 25 percent higher in the past 20 years than previously thought, a study from researchers at Harvard University found. Reuters

A lack of access to clean drinking water in California’s Central Valley, as well as perceptions about water contamination, is contributing to higher levels of obesity and diabetes as residents turn to sugary drinks, according to a report from researchers at the University of California-Davis. Vice News

Treatment systems for ship ballast water are not being adequately tested for their ability to eliminate pathogens, scientists said in a new report. Ballast water treatment systems are primarily designed to stop the spread of invasive species around the world. Associated Press

On the Radar

On The Radar

A court in the United Kingdom is expected to make a decision soon on a lawsuit between Colombian farmers and oil company BP. The farmers say a BP pipeline blocked streams and rivers and caused erosion of their lands. Guardian

China announced that it met its goals for air and water pollution reductions in 2014, part of its larger “war” on pollution. Reuters

Kenyans are eager for their country to continue programs to find new sources of water following the discovery of a vast aquifer in 2013. Guardian

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