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Box 3.1 Synergies between adaptation and mitigation in water-scarce regions

Adaptation and mitigation objectives in the energy system can be in conflict with each other. However, the expansion of renewable energy is a good example for synergies between adaptation and mitigation objectives at the water-energy-nexus. In many regions in southern Europe, water needs for agriculture, industry, energy, tourism and household consumption are increasing while water availability is decreasing due to climate change. In this situation, replacing fossil power plants by renewable energy sources with low water use can be a win-win strategy to decrease water scarcity. Figure 3‑2 shows that as energy production from renewables in Spain and Greece has increased, freshwater abstractions for power production has decreased. Obviously, the relationship between the two variables depends on the particular choice of renewable energy sources.

Figure 3‑2: Water abstractions for power production and primary production of renewable energy in Spain (left) and Greece (bottom)


Source: Based on data from (Eurostat, 2018a).

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