If the Earth warms by more than 7-Fahrenheit degrees on average by the end of this century, never-seen-before floods, droughts, heat waves, and other climatic disasters will follow, with the world’s poorest countries at the most risk, said a new report commissioned by the World Bank. But it stressed that all nations on earth will suffer.
The World Bank called for immediate action to quell the rise in the global temperature by cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions from several sources.
“Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today,” World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.
Kim cited the World Bank report released this week, which was reviewed by top scientists, saying the world will warm by 7-Fahrenheit degrees (4-Celsius degrees) by 2100, even if current emissions-reduction pledges are carried out. He called on world governments to “hold warming below” 3.6-Fahrenheit degrees.
“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,” Kim said.
The World Bank report noted the most recent heat waves, which have been blamed for causing an increasing number of forest fires, harvest losses in the United States and Russia, heat-related fatalities, a minimum in Arctic ice levels, and related problems.
The report said that the 7-Fahrenheit degree rise is the average increase and that in some regions and at specific times of the year, the increase could be as high as 18-Fahrenheit degrees (10-Celsius degrees). Recent extreme weather incidents like droughts, storms, and hurricanes will become the norm in the coming years, it said.
“For example, the warmest July in the Mediterranean region could be 9 degrees Celsius warmer than today’s warmest July,” the report warns.
Around the world, the 7-Fahrenheit degree rise will not be evenly distributed, but rising sea levels, it said, will follow with an increase of about 3 feet, or even more, by 2100.
“Limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius would likely reduce sea-level rise by about 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) by 2100 compared to a 4 degree Celsius world,” the report states. The 2-degree rise would also spell an increase in ocean levels, though smaller than the current estimate.
“It’s early yet, but clearly some of the small island states and coastal communities are beginning to take a hard look at their options,” Erick Fernandes, a leader in the World Bank’s Global Expert Team on Climate Change Adaptation, said in a statement.
“The need to adapt to climate change will increase as global population reaches 9 billion in 2050,” he continued.
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