Earlier this month, U.S. and China, the world's top emitters of carbon dioxide, have come up with an agreement to reduce their carbon emissions. However, citing the findings of a World Bank commissioned study, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said that this is not enough to prevent global temperatures from increasing to potentially dangerous levels.
Kim said that he is alarmed by the report, "Turn down the Heat, Confronting the New Climate Normal," which shows unprecedented weather events could be unavoidable as past and future greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and factories have condemned the world to have an average temperature nearly 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the levels in pre-industrial times by 2050.
Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, who conducted the study, said that even if ambitious actions are taken today, this will not be enough to curb the consequences of this warming, which could have serious implications in terms of development such as reduced crop productions, shifts in water resources, rise in sea levels and movement of infectious diseases into new geographical ranges.
Kim said that the warming climate ushers in weather extremes becoming the new normal.
"As the planet warms further, heatwaves and other weather extremes, which today we call once-in-a-century events, would become the new climate normal, a frightening world of increased risk and instability," Kim said.
The report says that global emissions are rising by about 2.5 percent per year, which will likely breach the 2 degree threshold within 30 years. Such an increase could drastically cut soybean productions in Brazil by up to 70 percent and yields in wheat crops by up to 50 percent. It could also result in never before seen heat extremes affecting 70 to 80 percent of the land area in North Africa and the Middle East, where there is already a scarcity in water resources.
The melting of the world's ice and the shifting time in water flows in Central Asia and western Balkans due to the warming climate could also reduce water supplies during the summer and increase risks of torrential flood.
"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," Kim said.
Interestingly and despite the findings, the World Bank said that it will continue to fund coal projects albeit with stricter conditions. Kim said that the World Bank will not ask energy poor countries to wait until solar and wind power can provide the energy needed for all countries to industrialize.