The World Bank released a report called “Turn Down the Heat”, which draws particular attention to the impact of increased global temperatures. It is stated that all countries, regardless of their financial status and economic development, will be affected by climate change. Sea level rise, cyclones, drought and food shortages, however, will affect the poorest countries the most.
The report highlights the impact of a 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) warming by 2100, a scenario that is likely to happen if the world leaders don’t change their current policies.
The new president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, has put great emphasis on the integration of climate change into development strategies. In his opinion, the first step in fighting poverty is to deal with warmer temperatures and the resulting consequences.
Some of the effects of climate change are already observed. The record minimum of the Arctic sea ice was reached in September, while the extreme heat waves and lack of precipitation have affected large areas of The U.S and Russia more often than predicted from historical records.
If some countries refuse to implement strategies for reducing greenhouse emissions, it is likely that these extreme conditions will become the so-called “new-normal.”
Other figures listed in the report include rise of sea level by up to 3 feet, completely flooded cities in Southeast Asia, water scarcity, falling crop yields and consequently poverty and starvation. Affected areas would spread from the Middle East to the States. The heat waves can cause rise in temperatures in the Mediterranean region equal to these in the Libyan desert.
According to John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the most worrying part is that nobody can predict the effect of these extreme conditions could have on human health and well-being.
Kim is the first scientist to head the World Bank. He is hoping that by presenting scientific proof of human induced climate change, more nations would join the global cause to reduce emissions. Under his influence, the World Bank is now planning to develop its own programs to meld climate change.
Only last year, the funding provided by the World Bank for 48 countries willing to adopt climate change strategies has risen to $7.2 billion.
The report of the World Bank is released exactly in time for the international meeting in Doha, Qatar between 25th of November and 7th of December. The purpose of the meeting is to gather the 200 nations, who are part of the Kyoto Protocol signed in 2007, and to try to extend it and tighten the greenhouse emission regulations.
However, the World Bank is facing another challenge. There is no doubt that poor countries have a desperate need for energy, when this is one of the main problems in the fight against climate change. For instance, despite the environmental concerns of countries like the U.S., The Netherlands and The U.K., the World Bank still gave a $3.75 billion loan to South Africa in order to build a coal-fired power plant.
Kim is certain that the World Bank will try to avoid such investments unless very necessary, however if energy is desperately needed, then their fund will be the last resort for these countries.