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The devastation caused by Thailand’s recent floods is vast. Two million people across 26 provinces were affected by the event, at least 527 people were killed, and a quarter of the country’s important rice crop may have been decimated. But beyond these headlines, the flood waters present a very harsh lesson in resilience. Climate change, weather, geography and politics all conspired to teach this lesson – but not just to Thailand. It is a warning to a world facing myriad risks in the ecological landscape – risks that are exacerbated by the volatility of political institutions, and the uncertainties that come with them. The challenge, for Thailand and the globe, will be to make the task of managing these risks impervious to the politics of the day, and responsive to the challenges of the future. (more…)
CNN, Climate Progress and others have reported this season’s local news hit: the growing trend in water pipelines bursting in cities and towns across America. As one Oklahoma utilities manager reports, the culprit is not difficult to spot:
As days of 100 degree-plus temperatures bake the region, the utility reports 685 water main breaks since July alone. That’s an estimated rate of four times normal…”It’s the heat and the high water usage,” Ragan said. High temperatures can dry soil so that it shrinks away from buried pipes. Increased water usage raises pressure inside the water lines. Both factors add strain to pipeline walls, making older pipes more susceptible to bursting. (more…)
In recent years there has been considerable discussion on how climate change, acting as a threat multiplier, could increase migration both within and across borders. The debate, at times contentious, largely centers on how climate change impacts the environmental and social factors that drive migration. This is a critical issue. However, there has been comparatively far less discussion of what we’ll call “climate immobility” – or how populations affected by the impacts of climate change, in addition to other destabilizing factors, may not have the means to move to a less vulnerable location. The dire situation in south-central Somalia, for example, where the insurgent group al-Shabab has restricted the flow of aid and the movement of people suffering from drought and famine, suggests that involuntarily immobile populations may become some of the most vulnerable to climate impacts.
The Nile Basin has been a hotbed of activity over the last year. In addition to the Arab Spring and South Sudan becoming a recognized state, the nations within the Nile Basin are renegotiating a longstanding water-sharing agreement over use of the Nile’s waters. All of this action creates an opportunity to develop a climate-resilient water-sharing agreement that could help reduce the probability of future water conflicts. (more…)