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Poorest Will Feel Brunt Of Climate Crisis, Warns World Bank

By Countercurrents.org

20 June, 2013

Millions of people around the world are likely to be pushed back into poverty because climate change is undermining economic development in poor countries, the World Bank has warned.

Citing a recent report by the World Bank Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent, The Guardian, reported:

Droughts, floods, heatwaves, sea-level rises and fiercer storms are likely to accompany increasing global warming and will cause severe hardship in areas that are already poor or were emerging from poverty.

According to the report, Turn down the heat: climate extremes, regional impacts and the case for resilience, food shortages will be among the first consequences within just two decades, along with damage to cities from fiercer storms and migration as people try to escape the effects.

On the southern part of Asia the report said:

Changes to the monsoon could bring severe hardship to Indian farmers, and incidents such as the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010 that affected 20 million people, could become commonplace.

On sub-Saharan Africa the report said:
Increasing droughts and excessive heat are likely to mean that within about 20 years the staple crop maize will no longer thrive in about 40% of current farmland. In other parts of the region rising temperatures will kill or degrade swaths of the savanna used to graze livestock.

According to the report, warming of at least 2C – regarded by scientists as the limit of safety beyond which changes to the climate are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible – is all but inevitable on current levels.

Referring to moves by governments’ stand on the global warming issue the report said: The efforts of governments are limited to trying to prevent temperature rises passing over this threshold. But many parts of the world are already experiencing severe challenges as a result of climate change. This will intensify as temperatures rise.

Fiona cited Jim Yong Kim, the bank's president. The bank president warned that climate change should not be seen as a future problem that could be put off: "The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2C – warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years – that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heatwaves, and more intense cyclones.

"In the near-term, climate change – which is already unfolding – could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth's temperature."

Referring to the bank’s stepping up its funding to adapt to the effects of climate crisis Fiona’s report said:

The bank is calling for rich countries to make greater efforts at cutting GHG emissions.

Rachel Kyte, vice president of the World Bank, said:

The bank had doubled its aid for adaptation from $2.3bn in 2011 to $4.6bn last year.

Rachel Kyte called for a further doubling. She said the bank was working to tie its disaster aid and climate change adaptation funding closer together.

More people would be pushed into slums, with an increased risk of disease.

Kyte said: "Cities need billions of investment in infrastructure, but many developing cities are not really creditworthy."

She pointed to Jakarta, where rising sea levels and decades of pumping freshwater from underground sources beneath and around the city were increasing its vulnerability to flooding.

Fiona’s report said:

Aid from the bank to help poor countries cut their GHG emissions and pursue environmentally sustainable economic development stands at about $7bn a year, and is backed by about $20bn from regional development banks and other partners.

The report quoted Stephanie Tunmore, climate campaigner at Greenpeace International as saying: "Fossil fuels are being extracted in burned in the name of development and prosperity, but what they are delivering is the opposite.

"Some major impacts from climate change are already unavoidable and rich countries must urgently support the poor and vulnerable to adapt. But massive increase in the future costs of adaptation and damage can only be avoided by investing in a clean energy future now."

The report said:

The World Bank has come under fire in the past for funding coal-fired power plants in some developing countries. However, it said the move was the result of old policies and was being phased out.

* guardian.co.uk, June 19, 2013,





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