20% of Global Population at Risk From Climate Chaos, Rising Demand of Mountain Water, Study Says
The study set out to assess the vulnerability and importance of 78 natural "water towers" — mountain ecosystems that both generate and store water in glaciers, snowpack and alpine lakes.
"I think when we've talked about climate change and ice loss, a lot of the narrative has been around sea-level rise," research team member Dr. Bethan Davies from Royal Holloway, University of London told BBC News. "But actually over the next 100 years, climate change is going to affect drinking water for people, water for power, water for agriculture - and in these water towers, we're talking about the supply to about 1.9 billion people. That's more than 20% of the world's population. We need to adopt urgent mitigation strategies or we will face severe water shortages."
Declining glaciers and snow in the worlds mountains means that millions will be affected by water shortages if clim… https://t.co/nw03jfYumS— Bethan Davies (@Bethan Davies)1575976959.0
The researchers found that both the most important and most vulnerable water tower is the Indus, which is fed by the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Ladakh and Himalayan mountains and sustains populations in Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan, The Guardian reported. If current trends continue, temperatures will rise to 1.9 degrees Celsius by mid-century and rainfall will only increase by less than two percent, but population will increase by 50 percent. The "water tower" currently supplies more than 200 million people, according to BBC News.
"If, basically, the demand is higher but the supply decreases, then we really have a problem," research team member Dr. Tobias Bolch from the University of St. Andrews told BBC News.
Overall, water towers in Asia are the most vulnerable, but that doesn't mean other continents are off the hook.
"It's not just happening far away in the Himalayas but in Europe and the United States, places not usually thought to be reliant on mountains for people or the economy," Davies said, according to The Guardian.
In North America, the most crucial water towers are the Fraser in British Columbia, the Columbia and Northwest U.S., the Pacific and Arctic coasts, the Nelson in Canada and the Colorado in North America, according to BBC News.
Michele Koppes, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia who was involved in the study, told CBC News how the climate crisis and rising demand would impact North American water towers:
She says there will be more landslides in mountain areas and more flooding events. As a result, water coming from water towers will be more turbid. There will be less water in summertime and implications for how water is used to create electricity.
"It's really important to understand that we're vulnerable to these changes," said Koppes.
The best way to protect the world's water towers is a mix of local conservation efforts and global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers said, according to The Guardian. Indeed, if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, 75 percent of mountain snow and ice can be saved. But if nothing is done to limit warming, 80 percent will melt by 2100.
"Immediate action is required to safeguard the future of the world's most important and vulnerable water towers," the researchers wrote.
- The Global Water Crisis May Have a Surprising Solution - EcoWatch ›
- Sydney Is Running out of Water as Bushfires Rage - EcoWatch ›
- How Water Scarcity Shapes the World's Refugee Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.
- Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050 - EcoWatch ›
- Net Zero U.S. by 2050? House Dems Unveil Sweeping Climate ... ›
- Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, 'Clean Coal ... ›
By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.