A new report by the World Bank Group has revealed that Climate change impacts, such as 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 mid-century.
The report states that as the planet warms further, heat-waves and other weather extremes that today occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, would become the “new climate normal,” creating a world of increased risks and instability.
The consequences for development would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources shift, sea-levels rise, and the livelihoods of millions of people are put at risk. Even very ambitious mitigation action today will not change it, the report said.
“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 worlds 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.”
Kim noted that these changes make it more difficult to reduce poverty and put in jeopardy the livelihoods of millions of people.
He added that they also have serious consequences for development budgets, and for institutions like the World Bank Group, where its investments, support and advice must now also build resilience and help affected populations adapt.
According to the report titled, Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, many of the worst projected climate impacts could still be avoided by holding warming below 2°C.
“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,” concluded Kim.