From: EurActive
Published November 20, 2012 07:01 AM

Climate change predicted to hit poorest hardest

All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but the world's poorest countries will suffer most from food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank’s new report on climate change says.

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Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, a former scientist, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development.

"We will never end poverty if we don't tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today," Kim told reporters on Friday [16 November].

The report, 'Turn Down the Heat,' says that 4 degrees of global warming by 2100 is likely under current policies, and would have devastating impacts.

Climate change is already having an effect. Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September, and extreme heat waves and droughts have hit the US and Russia more often in the last decade than would be expected from historical records, the report says.

Such extreme weather is likely to become 'the new normal' if temperatures rise by 4 degrees, unless countries comply with pledges made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But even doing so would not stop warming of over 3 degrees Celsius.

In this hotter climate, sea levels would rise by up to 1 metre, flooding cities in places like Vietnam and Bangladesh. Water scarcity and falling crop yields would exacerbate hunger and poverty.

Extreme heat waves would devastate broad swaths of the earth's land, from the Middle East to the US, the report says. The warmest July in the Mediterranean could be 9 degrees hotter than today - similar to temperatures in the Libyan Desert.

Plant emerging in desert via Shutterstock.

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