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World Bank Highlights Climate Change Impacts on Africa, Asia and the Coastal Poor

World Bank19 June 2013: The World Bank has released a report, titled 'Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience,' which looks at the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia.

The report, which was prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, builds on another World Bank report released in late 2012 that concluded the world would warm by 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take urgent concerted action.

The report illustrates the range of impacts that much of the developing world is already experiencing, and would be further exposed to, and it indicates how these risks and disruptions could be felt differently in other parts of the world. It reaffirms the 2012 assessment of the International Energy Agency (IEA) that in the absence of further mitigation action there is a 40% chance of warming exceeding 4°C by 2100 and a 10% chance of it exceeding 5°C in the same period.

The report finds many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and in some cases multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further severe negative implications for the poorest. It warns that climate-related extreme events could push households below the poverty trap threshold and adversely affect food security. The report also predicts that with projected climate change, pressure on water resources is expected to increase significantly, and that energy security will become under increasing pressure from climate-related impacts to water resources.

The report calls for immediate steps to help countries adapt to the risks already locked in at current levels of 0.8°C warming, but emphasizes that the worst projected climate impacts could still be avoided with ambitious global action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including through innovative ways to improve energy efficiency and the performance of renewable energies. [World Bank Press Release on the Report] [Publication: Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience] [World Bank Press Release on Climate Change Impacts on Africa and Asia] [World Bank Blog Post on the Impacts of Climate Change on Water] [IISD RS Story on the 2012 'Turn Down the Heat' Report]