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Global water shortages to deliver 'severe hit' to economies, World Bank warns

The Middle East, north Africa, central Asia and south Asia due to suffer biggest economic hit from water scarcity as climate change takes hold, report finds

Water shortages will deliver a “severe hit” to the economies of the Middle East, central Asia, and Africa by the middle of the century, taking double digits off their GDP, the World Bank warned on Tuesday.

By 2050, growing demand for cities and for agriculture would put water in short supply in regions where it is now plentiful – and worsen shortages across a vast swath of Africa and Asia, spurring conflict and migration, the bank said.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Developers don’t want to spend money on us – but they will if we make them | Catherine Shoard

The nature reserve opened by David Attenborough received some funding from developers, but not enough. We need to strike much harder bargains

Happy anticipation ahead of the opening of a new nature reserve. Until last weekend, there had been more coverage in the property supplements than the news pages. This is because Woodberry Wetlands is on the doorstep of a set of glitzy tower blocks in east London (£425,000 for a one-bed) ,which now dominate the local skyline and whose possible rights and wrongs – neat landscaping, nice views, displaced estate residents, decades of disruption for some who remain – dictate discussions down the pub.

Related: The truth about gentrification: regeneration or con trick?

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Source: Guardian Environment

Why today’s global warming has roots in Indonesia’s genocidal past | Joshua Oppenheimer

The mass killings in 1965 live on in global emissions from forced forest fires – and through human rights abuses in the palm oil fields

There has been tremendous concern over the ways climate change will affect human rights, but little attention to how human rights abuse affects our global climate.

Fifty years ago, Indonesia went through a genocide. The massacres may be relatively unknown, but in a terrible way the destruction continues, and threatens us all. In 1965, the Indonesian army organised paramilitary death squads and exterminated between 500,000 and 1 million people who had hastily been identified as enemies of General Suharto’s new military dictatorship. Today, the killers and their protégés are comfortable establishment figures whose impunity, political power and capacity for intimidation endure.

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Source: Guardian Environment

'Little Miss Flint' ready to welcome Obama after letter asking him to visit

Eight-year-old Mari Copeny plans ‘big hug’ for president, who asked to meet her during a visit to the Michigan city as it continues to grapple with water crisis

When Barack Obama meets her on Wednesday in the city of Flint, Michigan, Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny has an agenda.

“I’m gonna give him a big hug and say what more can I do to help?” Copeny said on Monday.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Malta should consider moratorium on turtle dove hunting, says EU

European Commission investigating violations of the EU bird directive after Malta allows 5,000 turtle doves to be shot, says Karmenu Vella

Malta should consider a temporary ban on the shooting of turtle doves which are being driven to extinction by hunting and other pressures, the EU’s environment chief has said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) put turtledoves on its Red List of species threatened with extinction for the first time last October.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Idea of renewables powering UK is an 'appalling delusion' – David MacKay

Country should focus on nuclear power and carbon capture technologies, former chief scientific adviser said in his final interview

The idea that renewable energy can power the UK is an “appalling delusion”, according to the final interview given by former chief scientific adviser, the late Professor Sir David MacKay.

The sensible energy and climate change plan for the UK, MacKay said, was for the country to focus on nuclear power and carbon capture storage technology, which traps the carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning. In that scenario, the amount of wind and solar the UK needed would be almost zero, he said.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Take your environmental concern to the next level – join a group creating change

For when the problem seems too big and individual efforts too small, here are three organizations making a difference locally and around the world

Using the column you’re reading now, I often advocate creating positive environmental change by taking the micro-view and focusing on personal responsibility by making changes to your buying habits, your energy use and your waste production. But you can also choose to take a wider focus by demanding industry-level change from big polluters and advocating bold shifts in government policy.

Both have their drawbacks, the former can seem insignificant, the latter, insurmountable. But there is a middle ground: grassroots organization, where individuals come together to address the unique environmental challenges faced by their own communities, neighborhoods and social groups.

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Source: Guardian Environment

UN chief picks Mexican diplomat to head climate office

Ban Ki-moon says he will appoint Patricia Espinosa Cantellano as new chief of UNFCCC, as climate talks shift from setting goals to carrying them out

A veteran Mexican diplomat has been chosen to head the United Nations’ newly upgraded climate office, UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced in a letter to France’s environment minister.

Ban said he will appoint Patricia Espinosa Cantellano “as the new UNFCCC Executive Secretary for a term of three years,” referring to the body which oversaw the international negotiations in December leading to a historic climate pact.

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Source: Guardian Environment