The warming of the Earth due to climate change
could hit the world's poorest people the hardest, the World Bank
warned in a report Wednesday, urging rich industrialized countries to
cut their emissions.
Turn Down the Heat builds on a report released last year, which warned that the world faced temperature increases of 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of century if no preventative action is taken.
"This second scientific analysis gives us a more detailed look at how the negative impacts of climate change already in motion could create devastating conditions especially for those least able to adapt," said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. "The poorest could increasingly be hit the hardest."
"In many cases, multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea-level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods will have severe negative implications for the poorest and most vulnerable," he said.
Rising sea levels mean that Bangkok could be flooded by the 2030s and droughts and heat mean that 40 per cent of the land now used for growing maize in Sub-Saharan Africa will no longer be able to support the crop, the report warned.
A potential change in the regularity of the monsoon season in South Asia could also cause a crisis, it said, warning that the floods which hit Pakistan in 2010 affecting 20 million people could become common.
Places where large numbers of people were crammed into informal settlements - such as in Metor Manila in the Philippines and Kolkata in India - would also be more exposed and ill-equipped to deal with floods and storms, the report said.
"We are determined to work with countries to find solutions," said Kim. "But the science is clear. There can be no substitute for aggressive national emissions reduction targets. Today, the burden of emissions reductions lies with a few large economies."
"Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate and weather extremes," he said.
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