Converging Currents in Climate-Relevant Conservation: Water, Infrastructure, and Institutions

PLoS Biology (2011, v9 n9: e1001159. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001159) / by John H. Matthews, Bart A.J. Wickel and Sarah Freeman

[From a Climate Wire article by Julia Pyper, sub. req’d] …In a paper published this month in the journal PLoS Biology, Matthews and his co-authors argue that investment and management decisions risk exacerbating climate-initiated changes, which could lead to economic catastrophes…When infrastructure plans are based on a set climate scenario, rather than a flexible one, it can be very costly in both human and economic terms, especially in the developing world, the paper argues…According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 40 percent of all development investments are at risk due to climate change, write authors in the PLoS paper. If a hydropower project fails to fulfill expectations due to the effects of climate change, governments could struggle to pay back loans from development investors…The solution is to build new water infrastructure in stages, say the authors of the PLoS paper. Using that approach, managers can adjust their strategy as climate patterns become clearer. Another step is to integrate ecosystems into infrastructure development — by “building with nature” rather than on top of it…


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