Global warming could undermine poverty fight: World Bank

Bangladeshi fishermen, who are likely to be affected by climate change, pull a fishing boat from sea in Teknaf on June 16, 2012
Bangladeshi fishermen, who are likely to be affected by climate change, pull a fishing boat from sea in Teknaf on June 16, 2012

Climate change could undermine efforts to defeat extreme poverty around the globe, the World Bank warned Sunday.

In a new report on the impact of , the bank said sharp temperature rises would cut deeply into and water supplies in many areas and possibly set back efforts to bring populations out of poverty.

"Climate change poses a substantial and escalating risk to development progress that could undermine global efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity," the report said.

"Without strong, early action, warming could exceed 1.5–2 Celsius and the resulting impacts could significantly worsen intra- and intergenerational poverty in multiple regions across the globe."

The bank said it is already likely that average temperatures will rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels, based on the built-in impact of past and current greenhouse gas emissions.

That means that extreme heat events, sea level rise and more frequent tropical cyclones may now be unavoidable.

But without concerted action, the real danger is that the average global temperature increase could go to 4.0 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

The bank called that "a frightening world of increased risks and global instability."

Residents ride on wooden boats in the town of Santa Cruz, south of Manila, on October 4, 2009, one week after tropical storm Ket
Residents ride on wooden boats in the town of Santa Cruz, south of Manila, on October 4, 2009, one week after tropical storm Ketsana devastated the Philippines with the heaviest rains in more than four decades

"Ending poverty, increasing global prosperity and reducing global inequality, already difficult, will be much harder with warming of two degrees Celsius, said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

"But at four degrees, there is serious doubt whether these goals can be achieved at all."

Shrinking crop yields

The new report, "Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal" focuses on the specific regional impacts of warming.

Warming of two degrees could lower the yield of Brazil's soybean crop by 70 percent. Andean cities would be threatened by melting glaciers, and Caribbean and West Indian coastal communities could see their fish supplies dwindle.

Two-degree warming could reduce yields of maize, wheat and grape crops in Macedonia by 50 percent. In northern Russia, it would mean substantial melting of the permafrost, causing a surge in damaging methane emissions, which would amplify the .

The World Bank has set an ambitious target of eliminating around the world by 2030, and Kim says that can still be done if warming is limited to just two degrees.

Combine harvesters crop soybeans in Campo Novo do Parecis, northwest of the capital city of Cuiaba, Brazil, on March 27, 2012
Combine harvesters crop soybeans in Campo Novo do Parecis, northwest of the capital city of Cuiaba, Brazil, on March 27, 2012

But temperatures have already increased 0.8 degree from the pre-industrial mean, and the new study says it is likely already too late to forestall a 1.5-degree gain.

The impacts of poverty exacerbated by climate change are wide and complex, the report shows. It will increase migration, though some people without means will be stuck with worse prospects in life.

In the Middle East and North Africa, water resources and agriculture will be under severe threat from warming.

Wajir residents walks past carcasses of livestock, which died due to extreme prolonged drought, on July 20, 2011 in Athibohol, N
Wajir residents walks past carcasses of livestock, which died due to extreme prolonged drought, on July 20, 2011 in Athibohol, Northeast of Nairobi

And in turn, the impact could be political. The report cited two studies that linked the Arab Spring uprising to the drought impact of on food prices.

Further could add to security problems "by placing additional pressures on already scarce resources and by reinforcing such preexisting threats as political instability, poverty, and unemployment," it said.

"This creates the potential for social uprising and violent conflict."


Explore further

Global warming not taken seriously: World Bank's Kim

© 2014 AFP

Citation: Global warming could undermine poverty fight: World Bank (2014, November 23) retrieved 21 November 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-global-undermine-poverty-world-bank.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments