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Title: Integrated assessment of global water scarcity over the 21st century under multiple climate change mitigation policies

Abstract

Water scarcity conditions over the 21st century both globally and regionally are assessed in the context of climate change and climate mitigation policies, by estimating both water availability and water demand within the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a leading community integrated assessment model of energy, agriculture, climate, and water. To quantify changes in future water availability, a new gridded water-balance global hydrologic model – namely, the Global Water Availability Model (GWAM) – is developed and evaluated. Global water demands for six major demand sectors (irrigation, livestock, domestic, electricity generation, primary energy production, and manufacturing) are modeled in GCAM at the regional scale (14 geopolitical regions, 151 sub-regions) and then spatially downscaled to 0.5 o x 0.5o resolution to match the scale of GWAM. Using a baseline scenario (i.e., no climate change mitigation policy) with radiative forcing reaching 8.8 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A1Fi emission scenario) and three climate policy scenarios with increasing mitigation stringency of 7.7, 5.5, and 4.2 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A2, B2, and B1 emission scenarios, respectively), we investigate the effects of emission mitigation policies on water scarcity. Two carbon tax regimes (a universal carbon tax (UCT) which includes land use change emissions, andmore » a fossil fuel and industrial emissions carbon tax (FFICT) which excludes land use change emissions) are analyzed. The baseline scenario results in more than half of the world population living under extreme water scarcity by the end of the 21st century. Additionally, in years 2050 and 2095, 36% (28%) and 44% (39%) of the global population, respectively, is projected to live in grid cells (in basins) that will experience greater water demands than the amount of available water in a year (i.e., the water scarcity index (WSI) > 1.0). When comparing the climate policy scenarios to the baseline scenario while maintaining the same baseline socioeconomic assumptions, water scarcity declines under a UCT mitigation policy but increases with a FFICT mitigation scenario by the year 2095 particularly with more stringent climate mitigation targets. Under the FFICT scenario, water scarcity is projected to increase driven by higher water demands for bio-energy crops.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1170463
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-103668
KP1703030
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(8):2859–2883
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
water demand; water availability; global scale; downscaling; water scarcity; GCAM; integrated assessment; climate policy; mitigation

Citation Formats

Hejazi, Mohamad I., Edmonds, James A., Clarke, Leon E., Kyle, G. Page, Davies, Evan, Chaturvedi, Vaibhav, Wise, Marshall A., Patel, Pralit L., Eom, Jiyong, and Calvin, Katherine V. Integrated assessment of global water scarcity over the 21st century under multiple climate change mitigation policies. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.5194/hess-18-2859-2014.
Hejazi, Mohamad I., Edmonds, James A., Clarke, Leon E., Kyle, G. Page, Davies, Evan, Chaturvedi, Vaibhav, Wise, Marshall A., Patel, Pralit L., Eom, Jiyong, & Calvin, Katherine V. Integrated assessment of global water scarcity over the 21st century under multiple climate change mitigation policies. United States. doi:10.5194/hess-18-2859-2014.
Hejazi, Mohamad I., Edmonds, James A., Clarke, Leon E., Kyle, G. Page, Davies, Evan, Chaturvedi, Vaibhav, Wise, Marshall A., Patel, Pralit L., Eom, Jiyong, and Calvin, Katherine V. Fri . "Integrated assessment of global water scarcity over the 21st century under multiple climate change mitigation policies". United States. doi:10.5194/hess-18-2859-2014.
@article{osti_1170463,
title = {Integrated assessment of global water scarcity over the 21st century under multiple climate change mitigation policies},
author = {Hejazi, Mohamad I. and Edmonds, James A. and Clarke, Leon E. and Kyle, G. Page and Davies, Evan and Chaturvedi, Vaibhav and Wise, Marshall A. and Patel, Pralit L. and Eom, Jiyong and Calvin, Katherine V.},
abstractNote = {Water scarcity conditions over the 21st century both globally and regionally are assessed in the context of climate change and climate mitigation policies, by estimating both water availability and water demand within the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a leading community integrated assessment model of energy, agriculture, climate, and water. To quantify changes in future water availability, a new gridded water-balance global hydrologic model – namely, the Global Water Availability Model (GWAM) – is developed and evaluated. Global water demands for six major demand sectors (irrigation, livestock, domestic, electricity generation, primary energy production, and manufacturing) are modeled in GCAM at the regional scale (14 geopolitical regions, 151 sub-regions) and then spatially downscaled to 0.5 o x 0.5o resolution to match the scale of GWAM. Using a baseline scenario (i.e., no climate change mitigation policy) with radiative forcing reaching 8.8 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A1Fi emission scenario) and three climate policy scenarios with increasing mitigation stringency of 7.7, 5.5, and 4.2 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A2, B2, and B1 emission scenarios, respectively), we investigate the effects of emission mitigation policies on water scarcity. Two carbon tax regimes (a universal carbon tax (UCT) which includes land use change emissions, and a fossil fuel and industrial emissions carbon tax (FFICT) which excludes land use change emissions) are analyzed. The baseline scenario results in more than half of the world population living under extreme water scarcity by the end of the 21st century. Additionally, in years 2050 and 2095, 36% (28%) and 44% (39%) of the global population, respectively, is projected to live in grid cells (in basins) that will experience greater water demands than the amount of available water in a year (i.e., the water scarcity index (WSI) > 1.0). When comparing the climate policy scenarios to the baseline scenario while maintaining the same baseline socioeconomic assumptions, water scarcity declines under a UCT mitigation policy but increases with a FFICT mitigation scenario by the year 2095 particularly with more stringent climate mitigation targets. Under the FFICT scenario, water scarcity is projected to increase driven by higher water demands for bio-energy crops.},
doi = {10.5194/hess-18-2859-2014},
journal = {Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(8):2859–2883},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}
  • Water scarcity conditions over the 21st century both globally and regionally are assessed in the context of climate change, by estimating both water availability and water demand within the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a leading community integrated assessment model of energy, agriculture, climate, and water. To quantify changes in future water availability, a new gridded water-balance global hydrologic model – namely, the Global Water Availability Model (GWAM) – is developed and evaluated. Global water demands for six major demand sectors (irrigation, livestock, domestic, electricity generation, primary energy production, and manufacturing) are modeled in GCAM at the regional scale (14more » geopolitical regions, 151 sub-regions) and then spatially downscaled to 0.5 o x 0.5o resolution to match the scale of GWAM. Using a baseline scenario (i.e., no climate change mitigation policy) with radiative forcing reaching 8.8 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A1Fi emission scenario) and a global population of 14 billion by 2095, global annual water demand grows from about 9% of total annual renewable freshwater in 2005 to about 32% by 2095. This results in almost half of the world population living under extreme water scarcity by the end of the 21st century. Regionally, the demand for water exceeds the amount of water availability in two GCAM regions, the Middle East and India. Additionally, in years 2050 and 2095, 20% and 27% of the global population, respectively, is projected to live in areas (grid cells) that will experience greater water demands than the amount of available water in a year (i.e., the water scarcity index (WSI) > 1.0). This study implies an increasingly prominent role for water in future human decisions, and highlights the importance of including water in integrated assessment of global change.« less
  • We investigate the effects of emission mitigation policies on water scarcity both globally and regionally using the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a leading community integrated assessment model of energy, agriculture, climate, and water. Three climate policy scenarios with increasing mitigation stringency of 7.7, 5.5, and 4.2 W/m2 in year 2095 (equivalent to the SRES A2, B2, and B1 emission scenarios, respectively), under two carbon tax regimes (a universal carbon tax (UCT) which includes land use change emissions, and a fossil fuel and industrial emissions carbon tax (FFICT) which excludes land use change emissions) are analyzed. The results are comparedmore » to a baseline scenario (i.e., no climate change mitigation policy) with radiative forcing reaching 8.8 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A1Fi emission scenario) by 2095. When compared to the baseline scenario and maintaining the same baseline underlying socioeconomic assumptions, water scarcity declines under a UCT mitigation policy while increases with a FFICT mitigation scenario by the year 2095 with more stringent climate mitigation targets. The decreasing trend with UCT policy stringency is due to substitution from more water-intensive to less water-intensive choices in food, energy, and land use. Under the FFICT scenario, water scarcity is projected to increase driven by higher water demands for bio-energy crops. This study implies an increasingly prominent role for water availability in future human decisions, and highlights the importance of including water in integrated assessment of global change. Future research will be directed at incorporating water shortage feedbacks in GCAM to better understand how such stresses will propagate across the various human and natural systems in GCAM.« less
  • We analyze a set of simulations to assess the impact of climate change on global forests where MC2 dynamic global vegetation model (DGVM) was run with climate simulations from the MIT Integrated Global System Model-Community Atmosphere Model (IGSM-CAM) modeling framework. The core study relies on an ensemble of climate simulations under two emissions scenarios: a business-as-usual reference scenario (REF) analogous to the IPCC RCP8.5 scenario, and a greenhouse gas mitigation scenario, called POL3.7, which is in between the IPCC RCP2.6 and RCP4.5 scenarios, and is consistent with a 2 °C global mean warming from pre-industrial by 2100. Evaluating the outcomesmore » of both climate change scenarios in the MC2 model shows that the carbon stocks of most forests around the world increased, with the greatest gains in tropical forest regions. Temperate forest regions are projected to see strong increases in productivity offset by carbon loss to fire. The greatest cost of mitigation in terms of effects on forest carbon stocks are projected to be borne by regions in the southern hemisphere. We compare three sources of uncertainty in climate change impacts on the world’s forests: emissions scenarios, the global system climate response (i.e. climate sensitivity), and natural variability. The role of natural variability on changes in forest carbon and net primary productivity (NPP) is small, but it is substantial for impacts of wildfire. Forest productivity under the REF scenario benefits substantially from the CO 2 fertilization effect and that higher warming alone does not necessarily increase global forest carbon levels. Finally, our analysis underlines why using an ensemble of climate simulations is necessary to derive robust estimates of the benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation. It also demonstrates that constraining estimates of climate sensitivity and advancing our understanding of CO 2 fertilization effects may considerably reduce the range of projections.« less
  • Major changes in the global climate are virtually certain by the mid-21st century due to the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Researchers are beginning to explore ways we can adopt. Scientist have long known that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are artificially increasing the volume of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere. This increase will eventually make the planet the hottest it has been in history. What remains controversial about the greenhouse effect is the rate of this global warming, its regional distribution, and most of all, what to do about the problem.
  • Over the course of this coming century, global electricity use is expected to grow at least five fold and if stringent greenhouse gas emissions controls are in place the growth could be more than seven fold from current levels. Given that the electric power sector represents the second largest anthropogenic use of water and given growing concerns about the nature and extent of future water scarcity driven by population growth and a changing climate, significant concern has been expressed about the electricity sector’s use of water going forward. In this paper, the authors demonstrate that an often overlooked but absolutelymore » critical issue that needs to be taken into account in discussions about the sustainability of the electric sector’s water use going forward is the tremendous turn over in electricity capital stock that will occur over the course of this century; i.e., in the scenarios examined here more than 80% of global electricity production in the year 2050 is from facilities that have not yet been built. The authors show that because of the large scale changes in the global electricity system, the water withdrawal intensity of electricity production is likely to drop precipitously with the result being relatively constant water withdrawals over the course of the century even in the face of the large growth in electricity usage. The ability to cost effectively reduce the water intensity of power plants with carbon dioxide capture and storage systems in particular is key to constraining overall global water use.« less