The World Bank today warned international leaders against letting the world’s temperature rise more than 4°C because it claims this could trigger a “cascade of cataclysmic changes” by the end of the century.
This includes extreme heat waves, food shortages and a sea-level rise hitting hundreds of millions of the poorest people in coastal or low-lying cities across Mexico, India, Bangladesh (pictured) and the Philippines.
A report commissioned by the international funding body which works to cut poverty, called ‘Turn Down the Heat’, says the world is on a path to being 4°Celsius and suggests current greenhouse gas emissions pledges will not reduce this by much.
The research is a “snapshot” of the latest climate science prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said: “A 4 degree warmer world can and must be avoided – we need to hold warming below 2 degrees.” He added this is not inevitable if world leaders took more “aggressive” action on climate change.
Mr Kim went on: “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.”
Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development suggested countries could reroute subsidies for fossil fuels and boost spending on green infrastructure. This included technology to withstand extreme weather and improve low carbon public transport systems.
She also advised countries to support carbon pricing and international and national emissions trading schemes and increase energy efficiency especially in buildings.
Global poverty charity Oxfam said it was right the report should “shock the world” into action before world leaders meet in Doha later this month to continue talks over climate change targets.