The World Bank Sunday warned extreme weather will become the "new climate normal," increasing the risk of world instability. The report, "Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal," analyzes the impact of warming of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (3.6 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels on crops and coastlines.
“Today’s report confirms what scientists have been saying -- past emissions have set an unavoidable course to warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most,” Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, said in a press release accompanying the report.
Kim noted record-breaking temperatures already are being observed and are creating both drought-stricken and extreme rainfall areas. Kim said action still can be taken to mitigate the situation and urged world leaders to embrace such solutions as carbon pricing and policy choices that "shift investment to clean public transport, cleaner energy and more energy efficient factories, buildings and appliances."
The report was prepared by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics. It found rising temperatures threaten the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, exacerbating problems in every region.
Extreme heat is the biggest problem, the report found, because it can reduce crop yields, negatively impacting food security and future economic growth as well as economic development, social stability and well-being.
The report predicts a possible reduction of 70 percent to the Brazilian soybean crop, reduced water supplies in the Middle East and North Africa, and melting glaciers in the western Balkans and Central Asia. There's also a chance of increased methane emissions in the 20 percent to 30 percent range, the report said.
“The report makes crystal clear that we cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions,” Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change.
"We need the political will to make this happen.”