WB: World facing food, energy, water crisis

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The World Bank (WB) said on Monday that two-thirds, or 5 billion people all over the world, particularly people in developing countries, would face pressure for their food, energy and water needs by 2035.

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In a statement, the WB said that the problem in energy production would increase as the world’s consumption of energy increases, which will be compounded by the limitation of water resources that is also required to generate and produce energy.

“With two-thirds of the world’s population – or 5 billion people – urbanized by 2030 – cities in developing countries will be under tremendous pressure to meet the demand for food, energy, and water services,” the WB said.

“The world’s energy and water are inextricably linked. With demand rising for both resources and increasing challenges from climate change, water scarcity can threaten the long-term viability of energy projects and hinder development,” Rachel Kyte, WB vice president for Climate Change, said.

Kyte’s statement was based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data that shows energy consumption would go up by 35 percent and water consumption by 85 percent by 2035. The WB said that by 2035, demand for agricultural produce will also increase by 50 percent.

The multilateral agency added that about 780 million people still lack access to improved water while 2.5 billion, or one-third of the world’s population, do not have basic sanitation.  The WB further said that water constraints in energy investments should be pointed out, and attended to by public and private sectors.

“Water constraints on the energy sector can be overcome, but all stakeholders, public and private, must work together to develop innovative tools and use water as a guiding factor for assessing viability of projects. The absence of integrated planning is unsustainable,” said Maria van der Hoeven, IEA executive director.

“We cannot meet our global energy goals of extending access to the poor, increasing efficiency and expanding renewables without water.  The water energy interrelationship is critical to build resilient as well as efficient, clean energy systems. The time to act is now,” Kyte said.

In the Philippines, power rate hike deliberations are still ongoing before the Supreme Court. The issue at hand is the P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate that the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) wants to impose.

The High Tribunal has issued a temporary restraining order on Meralco’s power rate hike.

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