The Stream, October 18: Global Poverty Set To Rise As Climate Change Affects Food Security

The Global Rundown

Millions more people could live in poverty within the next 15 years as climate change reduces food security around the world, according to a report from the United Nations. India’s Supreme Court will continue deliberations this week over the Cauvery River water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Farmers in Punjab are searching for less water-intensive crops as groundwater supplies drop beyond reach. Concerns about groundwater in Ontario led the province to propose a moratorium on bottled water plants. Low water levels along the Rhine River have disrupted shipping and contributed to high transportation costs. Construction equipment for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline was set on fire in Iowa.

“The infrastructure to deliver water to the farmers is centuries-old and has very low conveyance efficiency. This needs to be modernized for optimal use of scarce water.” –Excerpt from a report prepared by a high-level government panel in India that will inform the Supreme Court’s deliberations over a water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The panel concluded that both states are enduring water shortages, and asked that each “appreciate” the other’s water interests. (Hindustan Times)

By The Numbers

81 percent Proportion of irrigated crops in India’s Punjab state that are either rice or wheat. Faced with declining groundwater reserves for irrigation, farmers are seeking new crops that require less water. Reuters

$2 million Estimated damage to construction equipment for the Dakota Access oil pipeline caused by a fire set along the pipeline’s route in Iowa. The pipeline is strongly opposed by Native American communities and environmental advocates concerned about water pollution and the destruction of sacred sites. Reuters

1/2 of normal Water depth along northern sections of the Rhine River, where shipping companies are being forced to split their cargo among multiple vessels to traverse areas of low water. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Between 35 million and 122 million additional people around the world could live in extreme poverty by 2030 due to the effects of climate change on food security, according to an annual report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The report warned that food production could become impossible in large areas if climate change is not addressed, and argued that poverty cannot be eliminated without the “widespread adoption of sustainable land, water, fisheries and forestry practices.” Guardian

On The Radar

Ontario is proposing a two-year moratorium on new or expanded bottled water plants, as well as regulations that would shorten the length of permits for water bottling operations and enforce reductions in water withdrawals during droughts. The proposal comes amid concerns about groundwater reserves and climate change, and it will be open for public comment for the next 45 days. Guardian