Climate Changes Herald a Future of Widespread Drought – Water Left High and Dry in Climate Talks

Serious droughts expected in large parts of the world in coming decades

By Stephen Leahy

CANCÚN, Dec 8, 2010 (IPS/TerraViva)

As the world heats up, continents are drying up, with severe droughts forecast in the future. But negotiators at the climate summit here seem to have forgotten about water in their endless discussions over forests, carbon trading and finances.

“The main impact of climate change is on the planet’s water cycle,” said Henk van Schaik of the Cooperative Programme on Water and Climate, a foundation based in the Netherlands.

“Climate-driven changes in the water cycle will affect large regions of the world,” van Schaik told TerraViva at a side event meeting here at COP 16 in Cancún .

The impact of climate on the world’s water resources is not addressed within the U.N. climate framework, said Anders Berntell of the Stockholm International Water Institute.

“Negotiators here see it as just another sector of the economy but it is a basic element for life. Water is the bloodstream of our planet,” Berntell said.

This article was made possible thanks to contributions from Hugh & Jo-Ann Roberston, Kevin Toner, Michael Sweatman, Ann Wakelin, Lynn Carey, Leif Knutsen, Nan Nolan, Chris Conrad, Godo Stoyke.

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