The Stream, January 5: Power Plants May Produce Less Under Climate Change

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Water scarcity and warmer water temperatures due to climate change could decrease energy production at a majority of the world’s power plants, a new study found. Insurance companies last year spent the least on natural disaster claims worldwide since 2009, while costs for treating nitrate-polluted drinking water in Des Moines, Iowa rose to more than $1 million. Farm associations in India are asking the government for more financial support for drought-hit farmers. Low water levels in Germany’s major rivers mean ships continue to carry less cargo, and high water levels in the Mississippi River Basin are putting New Orleans on alert.

“Farmers are feeling short changed by the Modi government. Many farmers have lost faith in the government.” –Satnam Singh Behru, president of the Indian Farmers’ Association, calling for greater government investment and support for the agricultural sector. Poor monsoons over the past two years and falling global commodity prices have left many farmers in India struggling. (Reuters)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$27 billion Amount paid out by insurance companies in 2015 for natural disaster claims, $4 billion less than in 2014 and about half of the 10-year average. Reuters

$1.5 million Amount spent by the water utility in Des Moines, Iowa to remove nitrates from the city’s drinking water in 2015. The utility is suing agricultural regions upstream of its drinking water sources, alleging that the high levels of nitrate pollution are caused by farming operations. KCCI


Science, Studies, And Reports

Electricity production could decline at more than two-thirds of the world’s power plants due to water shortages or higher water temperatures linked to climate change, according to a study by researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria. The changes will affect not only hydropower plants, but also thermoelectric coal and gas-fired plants that use large quantities of water to cool their equipment. Reuters

On the Radar

On The Radar

As flood waters rush downstream from the Midwest, officials in Louisiana banned all vehicles and people from traveling on levees on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. The levees are being inspected twice a week, though river levels are expected to stay well below the defenses surrounding New Orleans. The Times-Picayune

Low water levels on the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany continue to inhibit barge traffic. Ships currently can travel only partially loaded, but rain and snow later this week may restore the rivers. Reuters

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