When the first major talks about global warming began, a top margin of 2 degrees was set for 2100, people slowly understood the globe is warming up much faster than previously expected, so the limit was pushed – first to 3 degrees, now to 4 degrees – and even this isn’t certain.


So heat waves and droughts should be expected throughout this century, and while banks may not be overly concerned about the wellbeing of the environment – they are extremely concerned about their money; and, as this report conducted by the World Bank concludes, if the environment suffers, the economy suffers.

“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 as the organization released its new report, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided” (pdf here). Kim, a physician and anthropologist and the former president of Dartmouth College, became the first scientist to lead the World Bank after he took office this past July. “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. 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.”

Quite thankfully, Kim has made global change one of the highlights of his speeches since he went in the office in June. He will meet with several world leaders in Qatar next week to discuss options which will reduce greenhouse gases and temperate global warming.

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The research was conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics for the World Bank, and it predicts that the biggest damage will be made in the poorest areas – which will make it all but impossible for them to rise from this status.

“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 said in a call to the press on Friday.

Here are the main points discussed in the report:

Average monthly summer temperatures Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the United States could increase 6° C or more.

  • Sea levels could rise 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.
  • Ocean acidification could cause coral reefs to stop growing or dissolve, threatening biodiversity as well as the income and food sources for humans.
  • Drought could affect 44% 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.

However, the report remains optimistic, claiming that if the world governments work together, the 2 degrees objective could be fulfilled; however, big steps have to be taken in this direction, starting with the redistribution of the subsidies given to fossil fuels towards renewable energy. Adding his own words to the report, Kim hopes it “shocks” the world into urgently taking action against climate change.