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category: Nature
published: Nov 2015
publisher: RMB | Rocky Mountain Books

The Climate Nexus

Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World

by Dr. Jon O'Riordan & Robert William Sandford

tagged: environmental conservation & protection, hydrology, environmental policy

Secure supplies of water, food and energy are essential to human dignity and well-being around the globe. In turn, the vitality of these three depends on a thriving biodiversity supported by healthy ecosystems. The complex interdependence among these four factors is known as the Nexus.


Global demand for the first three elements is increasing due to population growth and rising per capita incomes in developing countries, with steadily worsening consequences for the fourth of these elements.


The four Nexus elements are also coming under increasing pressure from climate disruption: more frequent and severe flooding and storms, droughts, extreme heat, and pest outbreaks. What’s more, Nature’s capacity to moderate these impacts is being steadily eroded by rapid, widespread land-use development and associated pollution.


This impending “perfect storm” of increasing demand, decreasing supplies and rapidly changing hydro-climatic conditions throughout the Nexus requires transformative policy responses that encompass economy, equity, social justice, fairness and the environment.


This book outlines these challenges and offers a pathway to resolving them.

About the Authors

Dr. Jon O'Riordan

Dr. Jon O’Riordan is a senior policy and research adviser to ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) at Simon Fraser University. He has formerly served as deputy minister of sustainable resource management and as assistant deputy minister of environment in the British Columbia government.

Robert William Sandford is the EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. He is the co-author of the UN Water in the World We Want report on post-2015 global sustainable development goals relating to water. He is also the author of some 30 books on the history, heritage and landscape of the Canadian Rockies, including Water, Weather and the Mountain West, The Weekender Effect: Hyperdevelopment in Mountain Towns, Restoring the Flow: Confronting the World's Water Woes, Ethical Water: Learning to Value What Matters Most, Cold Matters: The State and Fate of Canada’s Fresh Water, Saving Lake Winnipeg, Flood Forecast: Climate Risk and Resiliency in Canada, Storm Warning: Water and Climate Security in a Changing World and North America in the Anthropocene. He is also a co-author of The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer, The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World and The Hard Work of Hope: Climate Change in the Age of Trump. Robert lives in Canmore, Alberta.

Editorial Reviews

The Climate Nexus is a motivating manifesto to address the wicked problems of waste, inequality, and undervalued environmental services. technological advancements may buffer the realities of our unfortunate destiny, but engineered environmental services can never match the myriad of benefits the natural environment provides. this book is a call to action for individuals, governments, and local and global communities.—Mikhail Smilovic, Water Canada

Academic but applicable, the book is a call for us all to be creative engineers of our future.—Amy Reiswig, Focus Magazine

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