Report: The essential drop to reach Net-Zero: Unpacking Freshwater's Role in Climate Change Mitigation
Freshwater should be integrated into climate change mitigation plans
The report describes why, where, and how freshwater should be integrated into climate change mitigation plans to avoid unexpected consequences and costly policy mistakes. Even efforts usually associated with positive climate action – such as forest restoration or bioenergy – can have negative impacts if water supplies are not considered.Done right, however, water-related and nature-based solutions can instead address both the climate crisis and other challenges, said Dr Malin Lundberg Ingemarsson from Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
The report highlights five key messages on the interlinkage between water and mitigation:
- Climate mitigation measures depend on freshwater resources. Climate mitigation planning and action need to account for current and future freshwater availability.
- Freshwater impacts – both positive and negative – need to be evaluated and included in climate mitigation planning and action.
- Water and sanitation management can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient drinking water and sanitation services save precious freshwater resources and reduce emissions.
- Nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change can deliver multiple benefits for people and the environment. Measures safeguarding freshwater resources, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring resilient livelihoods are crucial.
- Joint water and climate governance need to be coordinated and strengthened. Mainstreaming freshwater in all climate mitigation planning and action requires polycentric and inclusive governance.
"To tackle the climate, food, nature, and energy crises, water availability is of the essence. It is urgent that the world focuses all attention on the double facts that water is the number one challenge for climate adaptation due to droughts and floods, and a key challenge for mitigation, as there is no safe climate future well below 2 degrees Celsius without a functioning hydrological cycle," Professor Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, concludes.