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Turn Down the Heat: World Bank Report warns global Leaders to restrict warming


Monday June 09, 2014

Global Warming, Climate Change, Development, World bank  

"Came at a time when the leaders of 200 nations are going to meet at Doha on November 26, the findings of the World Bank report on climate change, Turn Down the Heat, are of bigger concern for the poor and the developing world that includes the Indian subcontinent and most of Africa as it describes that all regions of the world would suffer – some more than others – but the poor will suffer the most."


HNF Correspondent


When world leaders are already concerned about the natural disasters with increased intensity and frequency, the World Bank report about climate change impact titled ‘Turn Down the Heat’ warned about disastrous consequences the whole world is going to face if the warming continues to rise at the current pace till the end of this century.

The report prepared by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics predicts temperature rise by 4 degree Celsius at the end of the century if the global community fails to act on climate change, triggering a cascade of cataclysmic changes that include extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks and a sea-level rise affecting hundreds of millions of people.


The findings of the report are of bigger concern for the poor and the developing world that includes the Indian subcontinent and most of Africa as it describes, “All regions of the world would suffer – some more than others – but the poor will suffer the most.”

Climate Change: The biggest Challenge

“A 4 degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2 degrees,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim going by the predictions made in the report while adding that “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”

As per the report, the 4C scenario is going to have disastrous impacts like inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher under and malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased intensity of tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

A Line of Hope

"The Earth system's responses to climate change appear to be non-linear," points out PIK Director, John Schellnhuber apprehending that "If we venture far beyond the 2 degrees guardrail, towards the 4 degrees line, the risk of crossing tipping points rises sharply. The only way to avoid this is to break the business-as-usual pattern of production and consumption."

However, there is still some hope left for us when the report says that a 4C world is not inevitable and that with sustained policy action warming can still be held below 2 degree Celsius. “The world must tackle the problem of climate change more aggressively,” said Kim adding that “Greater adaptation and mitigation efforts are essential and solutions exist. We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem, a response that puts us on a new path of climate smart development and shared prosperity.  But time is very short.”

The World Bank Group’s work on inclusive green growth has found that with more efficient and smarter use of energy and natural resources, opportunities exist to drastically reduce the climate impact of development without slowing poverty alleviation or economic growth and save the earth for our future generations.

What must be done

The initiatives could include, as advised in the report, putting the more than US$ 1 trillion of fossil fuel and other harmful subsidies to better use; introducing natural capital accounting into national accounts; expanding both public and private expenditures on green infrastructure able to withstand extreme weather and urban public transport systems designed to minimize carbon emission and maximize access to jobs and services; supporting carbon pricing and international and national emissions trading schemes; and increasing energy efficiency – especially in buildings – and the share of renewable power produced.

About the participation of the Bank in helping development in balance with environment, World Bank is helping 130 countries take action on climate change. Last year, it doubled its financial lending that contributes to adaptation. The Bank-administered US$7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds are now operating in 48 countries, leveraging an additional US$43 billion in clean investment.  Increasingly, the Bank is supporting action on the ground to finance the kind of projects that help the poor grow their way out of poverty, increase their resilience to climate change, and achieve emissions reductions.

The report comes at a time when almost 200 nations are going to meet in Doha, Qatar, on 26 November to work for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by extending the Kyoto protocol.


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