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Last year, global CO2 emissions reached their highest levels in human history. With climate change affecting everything from weather patterns to satellite operation, governments and international organizations are becoming increasingly concerned over man’s influence over the environment. A report released by the World Bank this month titled “Turn Down the Heat” details the devastating impacts of a world in crisis. If current policies and trends continue, the planet could become an average of 4 degrees Celsius (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter by the end of the century. This scenario would result in a “new normal” of extreme temperatures, massive flooding, and devastation among the poorest nations.
In recent decades, we have seen strange and worrying signs of a shift in the earth’s climate. This year, Arctic ice shrunk to a record low, droughts and heat waves scorched North America and Russia, and oceans are showing increasing levels of acidification. With a full 97% of scientists believing in climate change, governments and NGOs are struggling to make plans to address a possible 4 degree increase in temperature. This month, the World Bank published a report entitled “Turn Down the Heat” which illustrated the possible outcomes of a warmer world. Many of their heir predictions focused on the well-being of developing nations, which would bear the brunt of food shortages and extreme weather.
With greenhouse gas emissions on the rise, the sea could rise up to 3 feet, flooding such areas as Bangladesh and Vietnam. The Middle East, Mediterranean and the United states could expect far drier and hotter conditions resembling those of the Libyan desert. The scarcity of water and crop failure in these regions would jeopardize major food supplies, and make matters worse for poorer nations already struggling with the ramifications of global warming.
“We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today.” said World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim on Friday. He wrote in the report that he hopes the findings will “shock” the global community into action. The report comes on the threshold of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s meeting in Doha, Qatar at the end of this month. Going forward, the World Bank will have to balance their mission to fund projects alleviating poverty, such as their recent $3.75 billion loan for a South African coal plant, with their new commitment towards greenhouse gas reduction.
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