Climate talks must also consider water and not just carbon

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The COP-5 climate talks that are set to take place in December must include water as a key component of the negotiation process, if they are to be successful and are to have any real meaning.

This was the core message to come from water experts meeting in Stockholm for World Water Week. Carbon alone will not do it.

The Stockholm Statement that articulated the delegates' concerns was unanimously supported during the plenary session on the final day of the gathering.

Anders Berntell, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute, which hosted the talks, said: "Water is a fundamental element in economies, communities, and public health. We know that it is the medium through which climate change manifests its most serious effects.

"To be effective, climate negotiations must factor in the impact and importance of water for the world and, indeed, human well-being."

The statement says that adaptation to unavoidable climate change must be part of any global climate change package, and that will include securing reliable water resources.

It also calls for knowledge sharing, better access to technology for developing countries and finance that will allow them to deliver sanitation and clean water for their people.

Without water there is no life and it has to be clean, uncontaminated water, as far as human life is concerned. Some dirt and mud in water used for irrigation is no problem, as we all know. But for humans and animal health the water has to be clean and pure.

The absolute abuse of water in the developed world, from household usage up to and especially including industries, is not just a disgrace. It endangers life on the planet.

We have to find other ways of, for instance, flushing toilets and such like and we must utilize gray-water as medium for irrigating plants. Every time that a toilet is being flushed in the world somewhere in the region of 2-3 gallons of perfectly good drinking water is poured, literally, down the drain, serving no purpose other than flushing waste matter away.

In the booklet that accompanied the “DIY Planet Repair Kit” that was produced by the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and his team, the slogan was “don't rush to flush if it is only a pee” and that is what we must consider.

The cycle of water that people used to be taught in school no longer works for we use and abuse way too much water and send it to the sea. Most of that water does not return in the form of rain to us but is, in fact, lost and raises the sea levels.

That waste water that we pump into rivers and the sea may be more the culprit for sea level rises than any melting glaciers and ice sheets.

© 2009