8th World Water Forum in Brasilia: towards nature-based solutions

SHARING. This Monday, March 19, 2018 opens in Brasilia ( Brazil ) an 8 e World Water Forum that proves strategic. Titled "the sharing of water", this triennial meeting takes place just before two crucial meetings: the political forum next July (it will gather in New York most of the leaders on the objectives of access to the drinking water and sanitation by 2030) and December COP 24 in Poland on the climate where water appears as a priority in 93% of national contributions to the fight against global warming . This is the moment also chosen by Unesco to publish its world report 2018 . This sum of data gives an idea of ​​the challenges facing humanity.

World water consumption increases by 1% per year

Men currently harvest 4600 billion m 3 d water per year. Domestic use accounts for 10% against 60% for agriculture and 30% for industry. This world consumption increases by 1% per year and should reach 6000 billion m 3 per year in 2050. But access to the resource should undergo major upheavals. First, the increase in the population will increase the needs of agriculture, particularly in groundwater, which is more difficult to renew. 800 billion m 3 are now collected in the groundwater. Excessive pumping could lead to severe shortages in already stressed areas. The management of domestic water will be impacted by the growth of cities, 66% of men living in urban areas in 2050 against 54% today.

In red, areas where water shortages are already noted . The impacted areas will be more extensive in 2050, particularly in India and China. © Unesco.

80% of industrial and municipal wastewater discharged into rivers without treatment

" The deterioration of water quality is expected to intensify over the next few years decades, which would increase threats to human health, the environment and development "says Unesco citing a report of the multinational Veolia. Currently 80% of all industrial and municipal wastewater is discharged into rivers without any prior treatment. Agriculture remains the main source of nitrate increases in the natural environment and the use of chemical pesticides increases by about 2 million tonnes per year. In Europe, where the situation is much more favorable than in the rest of the world, 30% of the rivers and 40% of the lakes harbor too much phosphorus.

The evolution of the quality of water in the world. The situation is worsening mainly in East Africa, India and China. © Unesco

If the participants of the Brasilia Forum are preparing for the climate change negotiations (COP24) at the end of 2018 in Poland, it is because the issue of water is central for many states on at least two plans: rising temperatures are disrupting water availability and global warming will disrupt the water cycle and increase droughts and floods. Already, 1.8 billion people live in regions affected by desertification and drought, making it the most serious "natural disaster" for humanity. Floods have affected 2.3 billion people since 1995. Between 2005 and 2014, there was an average of 171 floods per year compared with 127 in the previous decade.

Focusing "green" infrastructures on infrastructure " "

It is these new and distressing situations that are studied throughout the week in Brasilia. With, however, reasons for hope. First, there is enough fresh water on the planet to water 10 billion people. Then, management techniques (rational irrigation, water distribution, savings in industry) exist and can be deployed quickly. Finally, the preservation of the quality of the resource uses simple and inexpensive techniques. It is on this aspect that Unesco emphasizes. " There will always be need to build dikes, to make pipes and purification plants, statue and Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the report of Unesco. But next to these "gray" infrastructures, we have a whole panoply of "green" infrastructures relying on the ecological engineering and the use of the role played by the ecosystems "

The protection of the catchment areas of its drinking water This allows New York City to save 25 million euros a year in the cost of potabilization. In Madagascar, the "intensification system of rice" which favors a better management of water and soil has saved 25 to 50% of water and 80% of seeds while increasing the production of 25 to 50%. " Worldwide, it is estimated that agricultural production could increase by almost 20% thanks to greener practices of water management ," says Richard Connor. The margin of progress is immense. According to a report cited by UNESCO on agricultural development projects in 57 low-income countries, more efficient use of water and improved plant cover, particularly through agroforestry, have improved agricultural yields. 79% without increasing the use of pesticides

A network to educate climate in schools of the world

An Office for Climate Education (OCE) was born in Paris on Friday to develop climate change education in schools around the world.

The ECO wants to accompany the release of each new student report of the IPCC (the United Nations group of climate experts) on teaching resources, in several languages, for pupils and teachers

At the origin of the initiative, French and German scientific institutions and foundations, of which the Pierre Simon Laplace Institute (IPSL) and the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), or Météo France and the Siemens Foundation.

"We need to educate in the face of the climate problem, because of the urgency and complexity, "said climatologist Hervé Le Treut, director of the IPSL:" We are moving from an era of diagnosis to an era of solutions, we need to train young people, who will later have to be able to to make decisions. "

OCE, which has forty partners in a dozen countries (USA, Great Britain, Madagascar …), wants to mobilize national educational and scientific networks. The objective is to promote resources, but also teacher training and tools for students (participatory sciences, meetings …), adapted to the climatic situations specific to each region.

The initiative targets students from primary and secondary levels (especially 9 to 15 years old) and strongly targets developing countries

"Teachers need to be able to find Giec's more and more precise messages in simple language, with tools, explains Pierre Lena, a member of the Académie des sciences and honorary president of the Hand à la pâte, a foundation that has been working for more than 20 years to encourage science education in France.

First meeting in October, with the release of a report by Giec on the world's ability to limit warming to + 1.5 ° C compared to the Industrial Revolution. The Paris agreement adopted at the end of 2015 commits the international community to act to keep the rise of the thermometer under 2 ° C or even 1.5 ° C.

Question of the week: How many tons of CO2 are released by active volcanoes in the world?

" How many tons of CO2 are released by the volcano s in activity in the world? Go a little courage, answer! " launches Jean-Paul Robert on the Facebook page. Taking his courage in both hands, Sciences et Avenir dared to rub shoulders with Jean-Paul's question so that scientific truth would come out into the open. Tremble, volcanoes!

" The most common question I was asked (and still asked) during my 30s and some years as a geochemist specialized in volcano gases by both than scientists working in areas other than vulcanology, is "do volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities?" ". Terrance Gerlach, a researcher at the US Geological Survey, finally came to grips with this issue. And he finally answered "no" in a study published in 2011 in Eos, a publication of the American Union of Geophysics.

Human activities emit 150 times more CO2 than volcanoes

] Terrance Gerlach compiled all the studies that measured the gas emissions of contemporary volcanic eruptions. It has reached a range of between 100 million and 500 million tonnes of CO2 emitted each year. Thus, at the height of its exceptional eruption in 2010, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjöll emitted between 150 and 300,000 tonnes per day.

Emissions from human activity are much higher. In 2017, they reached 36.8 billion tons 150 times more! Volcanic eruptions influence the global climate, but not by their greenhouse gas emissions, but by their sulfur particles. These billions of tons of dust are indeed shielding solar radiation and prevent it from reaching the lower layers of the atmosphere. Volcanoes have a cooling effect rather than warming. The June 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines, caused a global cooling of 0.6 ° C.

Indonesia: the most polluted river in the world is about to be cleaned

54-year-old Yusuf Supriyadi, with his skin disease and low rice harvest, never forgets that he lives next to the Citarum, nicknamed "the most polluted river in the world", in Indonesia . Recently, the government is determined to clean this garbage bin, a titanic challenge. The river in the west of Java is filled with pollutants of all kinds – mercury, lead, arsenic, household waste and animal feces. The multiplication of toxic waste dumped in the water by textile factories in the region does not help

An almost impossible mission

The World Bank had in the past declared the Citarum "the most polluted river in the world" , whose water is also a source of hydroelectric power for Java and the island of Bali. After decades of failures to clean it up, Jakarta dismissed local authorities and took matters into their own hands. Objective: make the water of the Citarum drinkable by 2025, a mission almost impossible. In January 2018, the Indonesian government instructed the police, the army and the judiciary to crack down on companies that do not respect the law. From now on, the factories that dump their waste there risk losing their operating license. In addition, surveillance cameras will be installed along the banks of the river to identify offenders. Meanwhile, dredging equipment will be used to clean the smelly river, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. " The Citarum is the most polluted river in the world and in the space of seven years we will settle everything ," he says. And " this time we are not joking, we are approaching this with a global approach and it is with optimism that we can make the Citarum clean again, as was the case 50 or 60 years ago ", the spokesman added.

Pollution has worsened over time. In the 1980s, a new industrial zone developed around the small town of Majalaya, 170 km east of the capital Jakarta. Textile factories have settled on an area of ​​2,000 hectares and jobs have been created. But at what cost ! About 280 tonnes of industrial waste are dumped daily into the river, according to official data. In addition, many people throw their trash. " When it rains and my house is flooded, the smell is horrible ," says one of them, Achmad Fachrureza, while cruising the Citarum in an inflatable canoe amid plastic bottles , polystyrene packaging and waste of any kind. The 57-year-old man worked as a security guard at a textile factory near his home. But after asking questions about the company's waste management system, he lost his job.

A serious health risk to 5 million people

On both sides of the river, pipes discharge industrial waste directly into the water. " Most of the factories here have a waste management system, but it does not work properly, it's just for the form ", in order to be in order, says Deni Riswandani, of the NGO Elingan. River pollution along 300 km is a serious health risk for the approximately five million people living in the region. Many of them suffer from skin diseases such as scabies, such as M. Supriyadi, or respiratory infections caused by the inhalation of pollutants.

" A very high number of people attend care ", says Riswandani. Frustrated by this pollution, he and other conservationists often block pipes that release toxic waste with stones and pieces of concrete, but the obstacles are quickly removed by factory staff. Activists and locals are skeptical that the government can achieve its goal of making the river clean given the immense task, complicated by endemic corruption – likely to see companies monetize the right to pollute the river. " I really want to see the Citarum as it was when I was young ," dreams Achmad. " I could swim and drink the water, it was so clean ".

Steel and Aluminum Taxes: These Trump Shock Protectionist Announcements Tremble the World

Is Donald Trump about to start a global trade war with his major trading partners? The US president announced Thursday (March 1st) that he will hit high taxes on imports of steel and aluminum to United States . "I will promulgate them next week," said the US president during a meeting at the White House with US steel and aluminum producers. "And they will be applied for a long time," he said. The US president has raised tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum, but does not specify which countries they will target.

"You will have to rebuild your industries," said Donald Trump. industrialists he received, adding that cheap imports into the United States "are destroying our businesses and jobs". The statements come as Liu He, the Chinese president's economic advisor, is visiting Washington. He had to meet White House officials but not Donald Trump, US officials told AFP.

Donald Trump had in principle until April 11 in the case of steel and until April 19 in the case of aluminum, to decide on measures aimed at imports into the United States that it accuses of being subsidized and sold at prices lower than their production costs (dumping). The statements of Donald Trump will finally have revealed the main points in short statements.

But these have helped accelerate the fall of Wall Street whose index DJIA lost more than 2% around 20:00 GMT , weighed down by the sharp decline of export companies like Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies which lost more than 3%.

Fed Alert

US Central Bank (Fed) President Jerome Powell, who comes from take office after being appointed by Donald Trump, also expressed his reluctance to the weapon of trade sanctions, saying in a hearing before the Senate that "customs duties were not the best approach "and that" in general "trade had a" positive impact "on the economy

The Trump administration unveiled in mid-February three scenarios to tax imports of aluminum steel, highlighting the need to preserve national security and jobs in the United States. The first option would be to tax all imports of these two sectors considered strategic, the second proposes an even higher taxation to some countries and the third would see the introduction of quotas, explained the Minister of Commerce Wilbur Ross. 19659002] In detail, a tax of at least 24% is envisaged on all steel imports irrespective of the country of origin; or a tax of at least 53% on those from twelve countries including China, Russia, Brazil, South Korea and Turkey; or a quota equivalent to 63% of imports from each country based on 2017 quantities. Proposals for aluminum are similar with a general taxation of at least 7.7%, or at least 23.6% % of those from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. The quota option would be 86.7% of imports based on 2017.

The United States is the largest steel importer in the world. Their imports are nearly four times greater than their exports, lamented Wilbur Ross, also accusing China of producing "every month on average almost all the annual needs of the United States." The US president's statements are waking up fears of a global trade war, with China, the second-largest trading partner of the United States, having warned that it will not stand idly by US protectionist measures. Yet this country is far from being the largest supplier of steel in the United States, accounting for less than 2% of total imports. These are mainly from Canada (16%), Brazil (13%) and South Korea (10%).

(with AFP)