Warnings from the World Bank

A few degrees in temperature change here or there may seem like a mild fluctuation, but researchers at the World Bank fear major environmental consequences for rising global temperatures. Last week, the World Bank released a report called “Turn down the heat: Why a 4 degrees Celsius warmer world must be avoided,” which looks at the environment’s reaction to a severe increase in temperature.

Until recently, scientists and organizations, including the United Nations, have stressed the importance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. However, the focus has shifted to 3 degrees Celsius and, in a worst case scenario, 4 degrees Celsius.

The report begins with a foreword by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who writes, “It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency. … The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.”

The report looks at each of these ecosystems in depth, and also investigates impact on human health and populations. View the whole report at http://bit.ly/4Celcius.