Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Extreme Weather Will Be 'New Climate Normal' Without Immediate Action, Warns World Bank

Climate

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said this weekend that the organization's investment focus will be on clean energy and that it will back coal-fired and other fossil fuel projects only when there is "extreme need." Flying in the face of a popular climate denier narrative that says phasing out fossil fuels and addressing extreme poverty can't be done at the same time, Kim said climate change threatened efforts to tackle poverty.

Image credit: World Bank Group

His remarks followed the release of the World Bank's new reportTurn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal. It said among other things that the extreme weather impacts of climate change may now be unavoidable and that they are impacting people's food and water security as well as threatening their safety. But it also said, "More and more voices are arguing that is possible to grow greener without necessarily growing slower. Today, we know that action is urgently needed on climate change, but it does not have to come at the expense of economic growth."

"There is growing evidence that warming close to 1.5 Centigrade above pre-industrial levels is locked in to the Earth’s atmospheric system due to past and predicted emissions of greenhouse gases, and climate change impacts such as extreme heat events may now be unavoidable," the report asserted. "As the planet warms, climatic conditions, heat and other weather extremes which occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, and considered highly unusual or unprecedented today would become the 'new climate normal' as we approach 4°C—a frightening world of increased risks and global instability."

"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,” said Kim. “We’re already seeing record-breaking temperatures occurring more frequently, rainfall increasing in intensity in some places and drought-prone regions like the Mediterranean becoming drier. “These changes make it more difficult to reduce poverty and put in jeopardy the livelihoods of millions of people. They also have serious consequences for development budgets, and for institutions like the World Bank Group, where our investments, support and advice must now also build resilience and help affected populations adapt."

The 200-plus page report enumerated the impacts of heat waves, prolonged droughts, disappearing glaciers, rising sea levels, heavy rainfall and vanishing forests on different parts of the world from Mexico City to Benghazi to Central Asia and spotlighted what it called "The Case for Immediate Action."

Immediate action, the report said, meant acting quickly to disinvest in what it called "the carbon intensive, fossil-fuel-based infrastructure" which releases climate change-causing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It said that in some cases, there might be no alternative to funding fossil fuel projects to supply electricity to impoverished areas, but overall, the World Bank's priority would be backing clean, renewable energy projects.

"At the World Bank Group we will use our financial capacity to help tackle climate change," said the report. "We will innovate and bring forward new financial instruments. We will use our knowledge and our convening power. We will use our evidence and data to advocate and persuade. In short, we will do everything we can to help countries and communities build resilience and adapt to the climate impacts already being felt today and ensure that finance flows to where it is most needed."

"The good news is that we can take action that reduces the rate of climate change and promotes economic growth, ultimately stopping our journey down this dangerous path,” said Kim. “World leaders and policy makers should embrace affordable solutions like carbon pricing and policy choices that shift investment to clean public transport, cleaner energy and more energy efficient factories, buildings and appliances."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Hottest October on Record Puts Planet on Track for Hottest Year Ever

Pope Francis: ‘Unbridled Consumerism’ Is Destroying Our Planet

Fossil Fuel Dependence Disastrous for Economy and Environment

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These 19 organizations and individuals represent a small portion of the efforts underway to fight racism and inequality and to build stronger Black communities and food systems. rez-art / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg

Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.

Read More Show Less
Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less

Trending

World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less