A new study by the World Bank Group warns that without increased efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world could warm by as much as four degrees Celsius by 2100, a trend that would cause extreme weather events, severe droughts, and major floods.
“A world in which warming reaches 4°C above preindustrial levels… would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services,” reads the report.
“Without further commitments and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world is likely to warm by more than 3°C above the preindustrial climate,” the report continues.
The study also points out that climate change will have a disparate impact on the poorest regions of the world which have the “least economic, institutional, scientific, and technical capacity to cope and adapt.”
“A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2°C,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in a statement.
“Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today,” Kim continued. “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.”
Last year, the World Bank doubled lending to support climate change mitigation initiatives and promote “green growth” and sustainable development. The World Bank runs the $7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds operating in 48 countries to leverage $43 billion in green investment and climate resilience.
However, some disagree with the World Bank’s assessment of the situation and their call for more efforts to curb climate change.
“The World Bank seems focused on creating the ideal world for subsistence farmers and in the process preventing many of them from escaping that poverty,” David Kreutzer, Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change at the conservative Heritage Foundation told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.
“Even if extreme weather events were linked to global warming (a claim unsupported by the trends of the last century), the costly carbon restrictions proposed by the World Bank would have no impact for decades and minimal impact even by the end of the century,” Kreutzer added.
Next week, nations, including the U.S., will meet in Doha, Qatar to discuss previous commitments made to encourage more greenhouse gas reduction worldwide and mitigate its effects to developing countries. In 2009, the Obama administration promised to be part of an $100 billion annual fund from developed countries to developing countries to offset the costs of costly climate change policies.
“Proposing energy killing climate policies for the emerging economies is like telling the emaciated to start their diet now because they may become overweight in 90 years,” Kreutzer said. “The World Bank would do better to focus on actual economic growth now so the world can become less poor and better situated for whatever lies ahead.”
It is politically difficult to get developing countries to sign onto climate change policies which seek to reduce the use of cheap, abundant fossil fuels that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. However, it is difficult to have a global effort against climate change without the participation of developing countries.
“Without severely capping emissions from the emerging economies there will be virtually zero impact on world temperatures by anybody’s measure,” Kreutzer added.
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