Companies globally are increasingly focused on the emerging risk of water scarcity, and so are their investors. The combination of rising populations, rapid economic growth in developing countries, and climate variability is triggering enormous water availability challenges around the world. We are at a critical juncture where the crises of food, energy and water, commodity price volatility, energy reliability, and fears of whether food production will be enough calls for a rethinking of our business-as-usual approaches. In partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Water mission, Columbia Water Center undertook a preliminary national level geospatial study of water risks perceptions and responses across 27 industrial sectors in India, including food processing, textiles, energy, oil and gas, retail, pharmaceuticals, information technology and health services. The results of the study are reported in “India’s Deepening Water Crisis? Water Risks for Indian Industries: A Preliminary Study of 27 Industrial Sectors.”
After a half century of authoritarian rule, armed conflict against millions of ethnic minorities, and natural resource plunder, Burma, also known as Myanmar, now stands at a crossroads. As conditions for peace coalesce and civil society begins to blossom, there is hope once more for Burma’s people. A new set of challenges emerge, however, around sharing the benefits and responsibilities of governing the country’s diverse wealth of natural resources.
In an article published in The Lancet, Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs outlines his own ideas for sustainable development goals, and how how these goals can build on the Millennium Development Goals, the UN’s set of targets that aim to reduce extreme poverty and boost social well-being in many other ways by 2015.
Across the country, in distressed urban centers, hundreds of thousands of industrial sites have been left lying fallow. These properties, known as brownfields, embody the story of America’s twentieth-century industrial might and bear the mark of that period’s unenlightened practices. Their closing and subsequent abandonment culminated in the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs, the creation of urban blight and the legacy of environmental contamination. However, research suggests that brownfields may be the missing link in the emerging green economy and one of the keys to America’s economic comeback.
As the world population grows toward 10 billion, consumption of water, food and energy is expanding at a rate that cannot be maintained without depleting the planet’s resources. If we fail to address these two issues together, we face a grim future of economic, social and environmental ills, warns a new report prepared by a group of scientists and other experts for the Royal Society.
by Kaci Fowler Originally from Germany, Philipp Petermann comes to the Earth Institute through an exchange program between Columbia University and the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, or Sciences Po, a public research and higher education institution in Paris, France. In May, Philipp will graduate with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science [...]
The people living on the northeast coast of Japan had learned to expect large earthquakes. But despite being one of the best-prepared nations, they were caught off-guard by the force of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated their coastline and led to the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. [...]
Rare earth metals play an important role in our envisaged carbon-free future, but their availability in the future is under question for different political and availability issues, which is worrying for planned reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
After finally reaching the Mongla and our boat, we settled into our new home. It is a similar design, but much larger than the one we used in September. As we ate dinner and explored the ship, it started the overnight journey to the southeastern part of the Sundarbans where the wildlife is most plentiful. [...]