Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity

Flynn, Dave
July 2013
International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts & Responses;2013, Vol. 4 Issue 3, p61
Academic Journal
This paper focuses on the critical relationship between climate change and sustainable development. As we have recently seen, energy availability may limit the ability of countries to continue their economic advancement, made critically evident recently in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. Nuclear energy was considered their means of achieving development goals by reducing their need to import oil and coal. This and other nuclear disasters, e.g. Chernobyl and Three Miles Island, have threatened the availability of clean water. Alternatives such as natural gas hydraulic fracturing, coal mining, and off-shore oil drilling also threaten water resources. Recommendations will be made to achieve a sustainable world economy to prevent further climate change and to increase the efficiency of water usage. The issues involved with sustainable development include human welfare, ecological stability, and economic prosperity. Fundamentally, sustainable development entails making strategic policy decisions for the effective and efficient use of resources for the benefit of the most constituencies. There are immense opportunities to reduce both consumptive and non-consumptive demand for water. These include installing more low-flow home appliances, adopting more efficient irrigation methods, "green architecture" such as agriculture on roofs in cities, and recycling of rainwater. Economic tools have also reduced consumption by making water more expensive, i.e. the more you use, the higher your per-gallon rate. The United States uses less water than it did 25 years ago. Water management will be essential to lessen the depletion of water resources, However, it cannot be expected to counter the effects of a warming environment. Without radically reducing the use of fossil fuels, world temperatures may rise 2.4 to 6.4 degrees centigrade by 2100. If climate warming continues to increase, we can expect the water shortages to increase with it.


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