The Stream, January 3: A Quarter of the Earth Could Soon Become Arid, Study Finds

The Global Rundown

Bone-chilling temperatures cause water issues across the U.S. The Ethiopian government finalizes plans to bring sewerage systems to several major cities. The U.S. government contemplates shrinking major marine monuments to allow expansion of commercial fishing. Egypt hopes to eliminate Sudan from contentious talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. A quarter of the planet could become arid if global warming is not kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius, a study finds.  

“Egypt, in a tense situation with both Sudan and Ethiopia, proposed for Sudan’s exclusion from the negotiations and to proceed with Ethiopia only, a country that shares its view on the issue as ‘a matter of life or death.’” –An Ethiopian reporter, in reference to ongoing negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt fears that the contentious project will cut off its access to water from the Nile River basin. Al Jazeera

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By The Numbers

23 Number of cities in Ethiopia that will receive sewerage systems within the next six years, including the capital Addis Ababa. The project, which is funded by the World Bank, is expected to improve water supply and sanitation services for 3.38 million Ethiopians. All Africa

3 Number of major U.S. marine monuments that may soon be reduced in size or opened up to commercial fishing. In total, the threatened marine monuments cover an area three times the size of California. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

A study suggests that a quarter of the earth’s surface could become arid if global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In addition to increasing the likelihood of wildfires and droughts, the global aridification could also impact water quality. According to the study, the projected aridification could be largely avoided if global warming is kept below 1.5C. The Guardian

On The Radar

Bitter cold temperatures across the United States are creating a variety of water-related issues, including fractured pipelines and frozen water towers. In some areas, boat traffic has come to a standstill due to icy conditions. The frigid temperatures are expected to worsen later this week. ABC News