Low carbon, water and poverty

The low carbon factsheets published by AEA and DFID deal with several issues, like water scarcity,  green jobs, mitigation and poverty reduction. I have fetched some interesting facts out of these sheets for you.

A development towards a low carbon economy could overcome some water security shortages, but it could also challenge water security, for example  through widespread agro-fuel production. Mitigation measures must ensure that interventions are climate smart and do not increase the current vulnerability of developing countries to water scarcity.waterdrop.gif

The MDG of water and sanitation security would bring about economic benefits of improved water supply and especially sanitation far outweighs the investment costs, a recent study by UNEP shows.

Yet Climate Change is another challenge to overcome in order to achieve this goal. Especially in Africa water stress is two-sided: surplus and scarcity, underdeveloped and overexploited. About 40% of all Africans live in area affected by water shortages, and 60% rely on rain for their farming success. So dealing with water issues has a direct impact on the level of poverty in many developing countries.

But the increased cultivation of energy crops consumes large amounts of water, and many traditional renewable energy technologies, such as hydropower, thermal power generation, such as concentrated solar power (CSP) and geothermal power depend on a huge supply of water. Increased water efficiency must become a priority throughout the fuel cycle.

How could climate change and its mitigation improve this? Deforestation for example, can change river flows and affect the quality and quantity of water supply. Mitigation programs  such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation thus have the co-benefit of improving water availability in areas affected by deforestation and its impacts. Other long-practiced and new water harvesting strategies could turn water hotspots into water “hope spots”.water.gif

A better understanding and knowledge of the impacts of mitigation strategies on biodiversity, ecosystem services, food systems and human security is required. Small-scale renewable energy projects in developing countries could become a triple win in the area of low carbon development, poverty reduction and climate resilience if special attention is paid to poor households too.

If the right decisions are taken now, green farming could create more jobs while emitting less GHG, and green jobs in the manufacturing and installing could benefit poor economies. At the moment Gold Standard is one of the leading organizations that certifies low carbon development projects that contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development. The long term effects of mitigation measures must be worked out and considered to ensure that the transition towards a low carbon society is also sustainable in terms of water availability and job creation, and takes special note of the interests of the poor, in order to achieve not only sustainability but also more justice.

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