06 July 2012

Adaptation to climate change

This EU site lists some adaptation tools but does not have many for prices or markets (here's one) because the site only tracks what's been done before (case studies), not what can be done or has been done outside the EU. While they work on that, check out this UK report on managing water scarcity [PDF]...

...and note that 29 US states do not have any adaptation strategy. That's no surprise given the typical lack of long range water planning anywhere in the US. Key findings (via DC):
Nearly nine out of 10 states are poised for more frequent and intense storm events and/or increased flooding.

While at least 36 states are facing possible water supply challenges, only six of those have comprehensive adaptation plans.

Six states – Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota – have done virtually nothing to address climate pollution or prepare for climate change in the face of growing water risks.

Water preparedness activities appear to have “slowed or stalled” in four of the nine best prepared states – Alaska, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Only 22 states have developed plans and formally adopted targets or goals to cut the pollution that causes climate change, which comes mainly from power plants and vehicles.
Bottom Line: Water is the vector through which we will experience the impacts of climate change, via storms, droughts, floods and so on.* We will need to prepare for more variation in the weather. The easiest way to do so is by designing institutions (from hard infrastructure to soft market instruments) to handle more or less water. Institutions, of course, must be adopted to local conditions.
* I wrote a draft of this post about 6 weeks ago, but this recent story captures what I am talking about:
Through most of last century, the U.S. used to set cold and hot records evenly, but in the first decade of this century America set two hot records for every cold one... This year the ratio is about 7 hot to 1 cold. Some computer models say that ratio will hit 20-to-1 by midcentury.

1 comment:

Bend said...

As water becomes more an more scarce, we need to start looking to how to protect what we currently have, however, we continue to pollute fresh water sources and privatize public water supplies. I predict that our grand children will all pay an extremely high price for our poor choices today.