Forget about central banks and interest rates. Forget about gas prices. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. Focus now on what folks like the World Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are focusing on: Water. Focus on what the World Health Organization is focusing on: Global air pollution. Talk of those two humanly vital issues when you talk of the “sharing economy”.
On May 3, the World Bank issued a report titled “High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy”. The study explains that climate change will lead to water scarcity which will “cost some regions up to six percent of their GDP, spur migration, and spark conflict.”
The study’s executive summary reasons:
Water-related climate risks cascade through food, energy, urban, and environmental systems. Growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will converge upon a world where the demand for water rises exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain. If current water management policies persist, and climate models prove correct, water scarcity will proliferate to regions where it currently does not exist, and will greatly worsen in regions where water is already scarce.
The report specifically cites Central Africa, East Asia and the Middle East as the first to experience the economic and societal effects of water scarcity. But we’re also seeing news reports from areas around the globe of droughts’ heavy effects on economies ranging from India to South America. And we’ve seen natural drought in the American West, and economic drought in Detroit.
In a May 11 report, Business Insider quoted Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s US Trust strategist Joe Quinlan. He cited concerns over hazards to the global economy ranging from China’s slowdown, and growing emerging-market debt, to a possible European Union break-up. But he went further to say:
They all represent known unknowns — or externalities already acknowledged and discounted by the capital markets. That’s the good news. The bad news: None of the hazards just mentioned are as remotely as threatening to the global economy as water-related climate change risks, a dynamic little understood by investors.
Oh, and lest we forget: The issue of lead in water has grown from not only Flint, MI, but to a national concern.
So…are there solutions to the water-scarcity problem?
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Tell us what you’re going to do.[/pullquote]The World Bank suggests policies and investments leading “countries to more water secure and climate-resilient economies. This includes better planning for water resource allocation, adoption of incentives to increase water efficiency, and investments in infrastructure for more secure water supplies and availability.”
Peculiar Progressive has doubts about such positive, cooperative generalities becoming reality. We’ve written often of problems with global water supply, including “Water as a Weapon of Bloody and Financial War”. We don’t see that going away anytime soon as the U.S. continues its global foreign policy of endless war, including building up its nuclear arsenal — which can instantly devastate water supply, air, and all human external and internal infrastructure.
We also see rising conflicts as corporations and governments continue drives to privatize water supply, with the profit motive cutting off this life-nourishing resource to masses of the dwindling middle class and growing poor.
And Speaking of Air…
The World Health Organization reported on May 12 that its new data — now covering 3,000 cities in 103 countries — showed that:
- More than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) limits. While all regions of the world are affected, populations in low-income cities are the most impacted.
- According to the latest urban air quality database, 98 percent of cities in low- and middle-income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. However, in high-income countries, that percentage decreases to 56 percent…
- As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them.
- A study from the US National Institutes of Health noted in March that, in America, air pollution appears to be causing both premature births and deaths, costing billions of dollars.
Do you believe air pollution and water scarcity will abate? Do you believe that getting organized, educated and active in these two areas will help your community and therefore the world? Let us know what you think. And what you’re going to do.