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Monday, November 19, 2012

Climate disruption's "devastating" Pandora's Box

A new report from the World Bank, an institution dedicated to reducing global poverty, warns that the world is on track to 4°C (7.2 Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures by 2100, with effects that are “tilted against many of the world's poorest regions” and making “the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today."

The World Bank report follows the recent release of two even more pessimistic reports from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the International Energy Agency.


  • Extreme heat-waves (including 6°C – 11º F - hotter U.S. summers);
  • Declining global food supplies and increased global malnutrition;
  • Life-threatening sea level rise, and the inundation of coastal cities;
  • Ocean acidification and “profound consequences” for people who depend on them for food, income, tourism and shoreline protection;
  • “Substantially exacerbated” water scarcity in many regions;
  • Increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones;
  • Irreversible loss of biodiversity; and
  • Non-linear impacts – tipping points like the disintegration of ice sheets leading to more rapid sea-level rise, or large-scale Amazon dieback that will drastically affect ecosystems, rivers, agriculture, energy production, and livelihoods.

The Bank says that climate disruption threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development and put prosperity “out of reach” of millions of people in the developing world.  It has doubled lending for climate change adaptation and plans to step up support for initiatives to mitigate carbon emissions and promote green growth and climate-smart development.  None of which may be enough to prevent the devastation, especially to the world’s poor.

As World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim says in the report, “A 4°C world can, and must, be avoided.”

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