As world leaders deal with climate change, aim to lift more people out of poverty, and make the world a more sustainable, prosperous place in 2015, here are the top Stories to Watch, according to WRI’s experts and as presented by WRI President and CEO Andrew Steer on January 8.
In fast-urbanizing China, nearly 90 percent of coastal cities face some degree of water scarcity and roughly 300 million rural residents lack access to clean water.
To quench the country’s chronic thirst, the Chinese government has turned to desalination, aiming to produce as much as 3 million cubic meters of desalinated water daily by 2020, up from today’s 0.77 million cubic meter.
Bloomberg incorporated data from WRI's Aqueduct water risk platform into its mapping tool; MSCI began using Aqueduct to measure risks for utilities and oil, gas and chemical companies; and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board recommended that companies use Aqueduct to measure water stress. IKEA and GDF Suez used Aqueduct information in their in-house risk analyses.
Water risks like stress and variable supply threaten everything from agriculture to industry to energy production. Already, 69 countries and one-quarter of the world’s cropland face high water stress. These challenges will likely become more severe as competition for water increases and climate change shifts precipitation patterns.
The World Economic Forum identified global water crises as one of the top five global risks for businesses. Without tools to evaluate these risks and inform management plans, businesses’ bottom lines will suffer.
Aqueduct provides the most up-to-date water risk data and analysis for countries and water basins around the world. This year, private sector investment analysis tools began incorporating Aqueduct data, while leading businesses and banks used the tool to identify risks and set efficiency targets.
WRI worked with Bloomberg to incorporate Aqueduct information into its mapping tool, while MSCI, a leading provider of investment decision support tools, began using Aqueduct data to measure risks across hundreds of utilities and oil, gas and chemical companies. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), a non-profit organization that helps corporations disclose information to investors, recommended that public companies use Aqueduct to measure water stress. And major corporations like IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, and GDF Suez, a multinational electric utility company, have used Aqueduct information in their in-house risk analyses.
With private sector investment analysis tools now incorporating Aqueduct data, WRI is helping to make water risk analyses more mainstream. Bloomberg has more than 320,000 users around the world, MSCI has more than 6,000 clients, and SASB works with hundreds of businesses every year.
These businesses, banks and investors now have the analysis they need to help mitigate water risks and improve their own water management — which will benefit the planet and their own bottom lines. IKEA is now targeting its water-efficiency projects in its stores and distribution centers in highly water-stressed areas.
O Brasil possui maior quantidade de água doce do que qualquer outro país no mundo—12% do volume total de todo planeta. Então, como São Paulo—a maior e mais rica cidade da América do Sul—está ficando sem água? Três mapas ajudam a contar essa complexa história.
The shale gas revolution, which began nearly 10 years ago in the United States, is poised to spread across the globe. For many countries, shale gas could strengthen energy security while cutting emissions.
But unlocking this massive resource comes with a significant environmental risk: access to freshwater for drinking, agriculture, and industrial use.