Climate Change is a Global Challenge to Sustainable Development

Climate change and sustainable development
Climate change: A threat towards achieving ‘Sustainable Development Goal 

Climate Change is a Global Challenge to Sustainable Development

Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Climate change is undoubtedly a powerful and even existential threat to the planet. But the current mitigation approach, which reflects a unique focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions could eventually lead to serious harm, failing to explain the exhaustion of energy resources - and contributing mainly to climate change.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind, which calls for mobilizing the entire international community for sustainable and balanced development that preserves the environment. Climate change is a frequent phenomenon of negative impacts on the Earth's ecosystem, a global dilemma that raises risks to the reality of economic growth as well as to world peace and security. It leads to a decline in operational action plans aimed at achieving the goals of sustainable development.

Environmental and sustainability issues and the preservation of the various environmental and social systems that are intertwined in their social, living, economic and human functions with their human and cultural dimension and as a natural right for generations are considered to be a strategic focus in the plan to achieve sustainable development goals.

Climate change and water 

According to the National Research Council report. Indeed, the water cycle - precipitation, evaporation, freezing, melting and condensation that moves water from clouds to land or ocean and vice versa - is closely linked to the energy exchange between Earth, the ocean and the atmosphere that determines the Earth's climate. Just as carbon accumulation in the atmosphere contributes to climate change, the degradation, and depletion of water resources contribute to this. These processes reinforce each other, with pushing and intensifying each other.

This requires energy extraction, processing "including refining", and intensive water use production. The energy sector is the largest water consumer in every developed country except Australia, where agriculture, as in most developing countries, comes first. In the European Union, power plants alone account for 44% of the total freshwater consumed each year. In the United States, this figure is about 41%.
As water resources become more difficult, demand for the water sector increases, groundwater must be pumped from deeper depths, and surface water must be transported over longer distances. In India, for example, energy now accounts for about 90% of the cost of groundwater.

As these processes fuel climate variability and reduce water availability and further fuel energy demand, leading to a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. In fact, meeting the growing demand for electricity and meeting national targets for the production of biofuels and other alternative fuels require more than double the global use of water for energy production over the next quarter of a century.

The only way to break this cycle - to mitigate climate change effectively - is to manage the relationship between water and energy (as well as food that depends on water and energy production). In other words, countries must make energy choices that are not only less carbon intensive but less intensive in water consumption.

With the tension of the global water supply, the shift to smart energy use in the energy field cannot be more urgent. Two-thirds of the world's population - particularly in Central and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa - are facing serious water shortages. Asia - the biggest engine to increase global energy demand - is also the world's drier continent, measured by the availability of water per capita.

In these water-stressed areas, shortages have already begun to restrict the expansion of energy infrastructure. One of the main reasons behind China's failure to develop its rock hydrocarbon industry is inadequate water in areas where its stocks are located. (To extract energy from oil shale, millions of gallons of water must be released).

Increased water stress has also increased the costs of existing power generation projects, which could jeopardize their safety. The drought in Australia, which lasted from the late 1990s to 2012, has undermined energy production, leading to higher prices.

With energy shortages usually more severe in water-stressed areas. We must realize that "clean" energy in terms of carbon can be "dirty" from the perspective of water resources. For example, "clean" coal, which includes carbon storage, along with nuclear power, requires the highest level of water density.

Some renewable energy sources, such as solar thermal power and geothermal energy, are also highly hydrophobic. In contrast, solar photovoltaic and wind - renewable technology that attracts global clouds - need no water to do their natural work. Promoting the development of such sources should, therefore, be a high priority.

But the type of energy used is not the only problem. It is also important to choose the right species of plants in the planning stage. Alternative cooling techniques for power generation, including dry or hybrid cooling, can reduce water consumption (although the use of such technologies is currently limited by low efficiency and high costs).

Power plants should also be located in places where freshwater resources are not dependent, but on salted, degraded or reclaimed water. In Asia, which now leads the world in terms of the addition of nuclear energy, most of the new plants lie along coastal lines so these thirsty facilities can attract more sea water.

However, there are significant risks. Rising sea levels, as a result of climate change, could pose a much stronger threat than natural disasters, such as the tsunami that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. Moreover, with coastal areas with high population density and economic value on suitable coastal sites for new nuclear plants. Although it has more than 4,500 miles of coastline, India has struggled to implement its planned expansion of nuclear power through coastal stations because of strong popular opposition.

Real energy security can only be guaranteed in the context of sustainability in resources, climate, and environmental sustainability. The global focus on carbon reduction is not only to block these critical linkages, but also to take measures that negatively affect the stability of resources. It is time to adopt a more comprehensive, integrated and long-term approach to the management and planning of energy, water, and other resources, with a view to protecting the environment on a wider scale. Otherwise, we will fail to meet the challenges of sustainable development we face, which will have devastating consequences, starting with the densest regions of the world.

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Climate Change is a Global Challenge to Sustainable Development Climate Change is a Global Challenge to Sustainable Development Reviewed by The Scientific World on March 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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