Climate change has become a major concern for our societies and its adverse effects on the environment, people and the economy are now widely recognised. As such, we believe it is crucial to highlight the need to ensure there is a properly functioning water cycle to restore the climate.
Generally speaking, and in particular during official negotiations between states, climate change is always linked to greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) being held in Paris in December 2015, the aim will be to reach an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century.
However, climate change is far from being triggered by greenhouse gas emissions alone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) clearly acknowledges that human activities have been affecting the global water cycle since the 1960s and is a dominant cause of climate change.
Climate change most notably manifests itself through water and related catastrophic events, such as storms, flooding and drought, etc. However, whilst these events are given prominent media attention, the impacts on the climate of human-induced changes to the water cycle receive much less coverage. Despite its key role in climate change, the vital link between the climate and the water cycle, which accounts for a significant amount of current climate disruption, is always missing from international climate agreements.
Through this booklet, the Danielle Mitterrand – France Libertés Foundation aims to achieve three objectives:
- to explain how the water cycle and the climate are linked both globally and locally by consciously focusing on water infiltration, evaporation and evapotranspiration;
- to present alternatives from around the world that prove that human activities do not always have to have an adverse effect on the water cycle and the climate;
- to show that it is possible for everyone to take positive action and put management methods in place that respect the local water cycle and help improve the balance of the climate.