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Climate Change and Water

Rising temperatures and sea levels may be the most publicized threats from unchecked climate change. But global warming, as it’s often called, also Cooley testimonyposes a significant threat to our precious supplies of clean drinking water.

Developing nations and island nations will likely be seriously affected – but even wealthy nations like the United States face serious risks from climate change. Since our founding, the Institute has been a leader in research on the impacts of climate change for water resources. Early work done by Institute staff was the first to point to the risks of climate change for snowfall and snowpack. And we played a leading role in evaluating risks to the nation’s water resources as part of the U.S. National Assessment. A more recent report, published with the United Nations Environmental Programme, also looks at the impacts of climate change on water and finds that “climate change will impose serious challenges on water systems.”

The good news is, water planners in California have begun to take the future impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources into account. The bad news is that climate change grows worse while Washington, DC fiddles. But as California has shown, there are workable solutions to the threat that climate change poses – but only if we acknowledge the risks and begin planning for the future.


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The Integrity of Science and Climate Change: Logical Fallacies and Abuse of Science

Letter to Congress: The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change

Science Magazine Letter: Gleick among 255 National Academy of Sciences Members Signing Published Statement Defending Climate Science Integrity
Guide to Responsible Business Engagement with Water Policy

Human Right to Water: Emerging Corporate Practice and Stakeholder Expectations

Understanding and Reducing the Risks of Climate Change for Transboundary Waters

Science, Climate Change, and Censorship: The Pacific Institute and Patrick Michaels

U.S. National Assessment

Freshwater Threats Research Paper

Bush Plan will Increase Dangers of Climate Change

More about the Water and Sustainability Program