World Bank report warns of "devastating" climate change effects

Current models predict that the world temperature could rise 4°C by 2100

By Natasha Lennard
Published November 19, 2012 9:02PM (EST)

A new report issued by the World Bank warned that, based on current climate models, the world can expect extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.

The report says today’s climate could "warm from the current global mean temperature of 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels, to as high as 4°C by 2100, even if countries fulfill current emissions-reduction pledges."

"A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided — we need to hold warming below 2°C," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said on the release of the report titled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided." Kim's "below 2°C" mark is achievable according to the report, which urges the immediate implementation of energy-efficiency initiatives; increasing the production of renewable energy; and redistributing the $1 trillion of subsidies that currently go to fossil fuel and other industries.

The study, which was developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics for the World Bank, predicts that the planet's poorest regions will feel the worst effects of climate change.

Some of the most concerning climate change effects predicted in the report include:
  • Sea levels rising up to three feet or more, affecting coastal cities in Mexico, India, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as small island nations, which could become uninhabitable.
  • Drought could affect 44 percent of global croplands, threatening the world's food security.
  • Water sources for humans could become scarce in northern and eastern Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.



Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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