On Sunday, the World Bank released the third report in its Turn Down the Heat series, focusing on climate change impacts in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and revealing that the world is on track to warm 2°C by 2050 and potentially 4°C by 2100.
As the World Banks states in a news release, “A world even 1.5°C will mean more severe droughts and global sea level rise, increasing the risk of damage from storm surges and crop loss and raising the cost of adaptation for millions of people.”
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says that the world’s poorest will be the worst impacted by this oncoming rise in temperature.
“Today’s report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course of warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most,” he said. “We cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions.”
The World Bank report echoes the findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a consortium of the planet’s leading climate experts, which recommended that countries eliminate the burning of all unregulated fossil fuels by 2100 earlier this month. The panel declared that the burning of fossil fuels is affecting the climate and that the period between 1983 and 2012 was the warmest 30-year period in the last 1,400 years.
To limit global warming to 2°C by the end of this century, the world’s most economically-developed countries pledged to scale back emissions at the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.
“Ending poverty, increasing global prosperity and reducing global inequality, already difficult, will be much harder with warming of two degrees Celsius,” said Kim. “But at four degrees, there is serious doubt whether these goals can be achieved at all.”
Despite this fact, world governments still spend $775 billion to subsidize the use and production of fossil fuels and spend $88 billion subsidizing the exploration of further fossil fuel deposits, according to a recent analysis by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International.
Carbon emissions by China, the U.S. and India, the world’s three biggest polluters, all grew in 2013. Scientists from the Global Carbon Project announced in September that this heavily factored into last year becoming the most carbon-intensive year on record (39.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide).
The world’s continued reliance on fossil fuels for energy, industry and transportation “means that climate change impacts such as extreme heat events may now be simply unavoidable,” said President Kim in a telephone news conference earlier this week.