World Bank warns of '4 degree' threshhold

 

Washington

A A A

The World Bank is urging stepped-up efforts to meet world carbon reduction goals after looking at what it says would be the catastrophic consequences if average world temperatures rise more than 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

In what World Bank President Jim Yong Kim acknowledged was a "doomsday scenario," a new bank study cited the 4 degree increase as a threshold that would likely trigger widespread crop failures and malnutrition and dislocate large numbers of people from land inundated by rising seas.

World climate goals aim to hold the mean temperature increase to under 2 degrees Celsius, by curbing emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat — a phenomenon already felt to have boosted average temperatures nearly 1 degree from levels present before the start of the industrial age, Kim said in a briefing last week.

That goal is unlikely to be met, he said, with an increase of 3 or 3.5 degrees Celsius now considered probable.

The report noted that a drop in average temperature of around 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) triggered the last ice age, and it predicted that a temperature increase of that magnitude would similarly reshape the planet.

In looking at the effects of a 4 degree increase, Kim said the bank was hoping to spark countries to act more aggressively to achieve climate goals and to prompt poorer nations to begin planning ways to offset the long list of potential impacts.

Those could include sea levels as much as 3 feet higher than currently expected — a potentially devastating problem for large coastal cities in Asia and Africa. Warming on such a scale could also limit access to fresh water for irrigation and cause heat, drought and disease problems that could make it more difficult to meet world food demands and improve health.

"The kind of sea level rise we are talking about is going to make the process of urban planning and services to the poor absolutely fundamental," said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's vice president for sustainable development. "The race to heat resistant and drought resistant strains [of staple food crops] becomes fundamental."

Kyte said the bank has begun more intense and frequent talks with poorer nations over how to prepare for climate change — usually at the instigation of officials who have seen the effects of more intense weather and climate patterns and now feel they need to plan for the worst.

Countries such as Nigeria, Vietnam and Thailand "are coming and saying help us think through the options," said Kyte. "This is an absolute change in the conversation we are having with our clients."

The bank's report, "Turn Down the Heat," cast some doubt on how much can be done to avoid the worst outcomes.

Predicting the course of the world's climate is difficult science, and it is impossible to forecast how technology, demographics and politics will shape what the world looks like in 90 years — regardless of the temperature.

But the bank report concluded that a 4 degree jump in average temperatures would push some countries or regions to the brink of collapse, regardless of how hard they try to adapt.

"A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation," the bank report said. "There is no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London