Global Trends 2015 (GT-2015) was prepared in 2000 by the National Intelligence Council as a dialogue with non-government experts. This CIA report takes a national security perspective in looking at the world in 2015. It projected that environmental issues will become mainstream in some developed countries. While consensus on the need to deal with these issues will strengthen, progress will be uneven.
GT-2015 suggests that global warming will challenge the international community as polar ice melts, sea levels rise and major storms increase. It warns that water shortages, a symptom of climate change, may increase conflicts between countries.
We are now halfway to 2015 and it is clear that these grim predictions are already coming to reality. The U.S. is just now catching up with the rest of the developed world in recognizing that global warming is here and human activities are accelerating it. Still the world’s super power is estranged from international partners in addressing it.
Daily we read of significant ice melts, another endangered species, sinking islands, catastrophic storms, the water war in Dafur, and starving people in drought stricken regions. We also know that global warming is making its presence felt here at home as weather patterns change creating crippling storms, droughts, wildfires, floods, and even disputes between states for water access.
Water covers about 75% of Earth’s surface yet only about 2.5% is fresh water. Less than 1% is of drinking quality available for more than 6.6 billion people. Some 2/3 of fresh water is stored in glaciers that are rapidly melting into the sea.
Anders Berntell of the Stockholm International Water Institute told the opening session of World Water Week this August, “What becomes apparent is that climate change hits us first through water. Too much or too little water, at the wrong time, at the wrong place.”
Attendees heard Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt’s belief that fighting global warming will solve water problems and that solving water problems is key to tackling global warming.
It is not governments alone that must take action, but each citizen of the Earth. In our daily lives we must not forget that water is life and there is not a drop to waste.