What the study makes clear is that global warming is not something that will effect us in twenty or thirty years – we are living within a changing climate now. While Jospeh Romm blogs about some of bleakest findings and forecasts of the report at Climate Progress, what I find interesting are the key messages in the part of the report titled, “Energy Production and Use.” The findings, highlighted here, are:
Climate change is likely to affect some renewable energy sources across the nation, especially hydropower in regions where precipitation or water from melting snowpack decreases.
The conundrum between the first two bullet points is clear — while electricity use will rise as a result of warming, energy production will decrease as a result of shrinking water supplies. It is true that both nuclear and coal plants use tremendous amounts of water throughout the process – yet another reason to bolster investment in renewable energy. Similarly, this is why investments in energy and water efficiency, as well as conservation of existing supplies, are crucial. Further, the interdependent nature of water and energy is appropriately highlighted (there is an entire section of the report on climate impacts on our water resources); as we move forward to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate and make decisions to deal with our climate/energy crisis, an imperative piece of the policy decision-making process will be to take into account the impact of these decisions on our shared water resources, from local to state to federal levels of governance.
To read the report or find further information, click here