WORLD BANK Group has commissioned a new report that suggests dramatic climate change will continue to affect millions of lives and impact world food security, unless significant changes are made.
The report, Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, is an analysis of the likely impacts global warming will have on agricultural production, water resources, ecosystem services, and coastal vulnerability.
The regions included in the study are Latin-America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and parts of Europe and Central Asia.
It builds on a 2012 World Bank report, which said that the world would warm by 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action immediately.
According to Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, weather extremes are damaging crops and coastlines and putting water security at jeopardy. The risks of reduced crop yields and production losses will increase significantly if the world temperature rises above 1.5°C to 2°C.
Declines in agricultural productivity will also have impacts outside core producer regions, with strong repercussions on food security, and may negatively affect economic growth and development, social stability and well‐being.
Extreme heat events may now be unavoidable because the Earth’s atmospheric system is locked into warming close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by the mid-century, the report said, even very ambitious mitigation action taken today will not change this.
“Today’s report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course to warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “We’re already seeing record-breaking temperatures occurring more frequently, rainfall increasing in intensity in some places, and drought-prone regions like the Mediterranean becoming drier.”
However, many of the worst climate impacts could still be avoided by keeping global warming below 2°C, the report said.
Jim Yong Kim continues: “The good news is that we can take action that reduces the rate of climate change and promotes economic growth, ultimately stopping our journey down this dangerous path.”
World leaders and policy makers should embrace affordable solutions like carbon pricing and policy choices that shift investment to clean public transport, cleaner energy and more energy efficient factories, buildings and appliances."
Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, Rachel Kyte says: “The report makes crystal clear that we cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions. Leaders must step up and take the necessary decisions on how we manage our economies towards clean growth and resilient development.
“Urgent and substantial technological, economic, institutional and behavioural change is needed to reverse present trends. Economic development and climate protection can be complementary. We need the political will to make this happen.”