13 April 2008

Water Shortages Worldwide

One question that I get asked on the doorstep, whilst canvassing, is when we'll feel the bite of climate change.

The short answer is that it's already happening.

One example is water.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, 67% of the glaciers are already melting, causing glacial lakes to burst their banks, destroying villages, crops and livestock. The disappearance of these glaciers threatens to deprive China and India of much-needed irrigation water for wheat and rice crops during dry seasons. The glaciers feed the Yangtze and Yellow rivers and provide up to 70% of water in the Ganges during dry season. Together, China and India produce more than half the world’s wheat and rice. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 all the more alarming. Asia’s melting glaciers may pose the biggest threat to food production the world has ever faced.
You can also see water shortages already in Europe, especially in Catalonia.

There has been 40% less rain in Spain than usual since 1st October. Mediterranean regions such as Catalonia and Valencia have been the worst affected — they have had less rain than at any time since 1912. Water reserves in Barcelona are at 19% of capacity — they must be shut down when they reach 15 per cent because there is too much sediment near the bottom. José Montilla, president of Catalonia, said: “We must prepare for the worst.”
Climate change is something that we should focus all of our energies, our skills, our know-how, on. Instead, it's treated as just another issue to put on election leaflets this time of year.

We need to put climate change first in Coventry.

There will be a wide variety of benefits if we were to do so:

- We'd be more energy independent (insulated from fossil fuel prices rises)
- We'd save money on fuel bills with warmer homes (from energy efficiency and an action plan on fuel poverty).
- We'd have more access to green space in deprived neighbourhoods.
- We'd be able to attract businesses that want a city council that encourages green innovation and green entrepreneurship.

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