The Stream, June 29: State of Michigan Sues Flint Over Water Deal

The Global Rundown

The city of Flint, Michigan faces a lawsuit from the state after it refused to approve a 30-year contract with a regional water supplier. Global climate leaders warn the world has three years until the worst effects of climate change become unavoidable. Pakistanis observing Ramadan this month had to contend with water and power shortages. A new study found that thousands of square kilometers in Antarctica could be ice-free by the end of the century, threatening biodiversity. Researches say a miscalculation of water loss from plants could alter some climate models.

“We blame India, but we can’t manage our own water…The politicians want to build big, visible projects, but nobody sees the pipes and underground problems that are deteriorating by the day.” –Arshad Abbasi, a water specialist at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, commenting on chronic water shortages in Pakistan. The shortages, together with power cuts and high temperatures, angered many residents as they observed Ramadan this month. (The Washington Post)

By The Numbers

3 years Time the world has left to bring climate-warming emissions under control before extreme droughts, floods, sea level rise, and other worst-case climate change scenarios become unavoidable, according to a letter published by leading global climate experts. Guardian

17,000 square kilometers Additional area that could be ice-free in Antarctica by 2100 due to warming temperatures and changing snowfall patterns, a study published in the journal Nature found. The change could reduce biodiversity on the continent. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Plants under drought stress lose much more water from the surface of their leaves — instead of through leaf pores — than scientists previously believed, according to plant biologists. Taking this additional source of water-loss into account could affect the way scientists measure the amount of carbon dioxide inside plants, and potentially climate models based on those measurements. Nature

On The Radar

The state of Michigan filed a lawsuit against Flint Wednesday after the city refused to sign a 30-year contract to receive drinking water from the regional Great Lakes Water Authority. The state argues that the deal is the only way for the city to affordably provide safe water to residents in the wake of a lead-contaminated water crisis that came about when state-appointed financial managers switched the city’s water supply in 2014. Associated Press

In context: In Flint water probe, five officials face involuntary manslaughter charge.