“Record heat and droughts are exposing millions to growing water and food scarcity issues across all continents,” the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a February 2022 report. “About half of the world’s population already experiences severe water scarcity for some part of the year.” But while there is near consensus on the gravity of the world water crisis, there is fierce disagreement on what needs to be done. Some analysts believe the situation can best be resolved economically, by involving the market and commodifying water — a very controversial proposal. Lance Coogan, for example, a trader on the futures market, was aghast to discover several years ago that there was no publicly listed price for water. “How on earth are you meant to cost [out] anything, with respect to [water] infrastructure or anything else, without knowing the price of water?” he asked. “It’s an essential part of the modern world. We have to know the price of water.” In 2018, Coogan moved to fill this gap. “We did a deal with NASDAQ and listed something called NQH20 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It’s an index giving the average price of volume-weighted water in Southern California,” explained Coogan. The value of doing so, he said, is that it provides farmers and other water consumers with a baseline water price. In addition, when “there is less water [available], the price goes up and [the market] can be used as a fire alert indicator,” letting policymakers, investors and others…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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