Jim Yong Kim, the new President of the World Bank, called on the world to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a shift for an organization that usually does not weigh in on the subject. Kim’s report, “Why a 4° Centigrade Warmer World Must Be Avoided,” has a very specific intent. “It is my hope that this report shocks us into action,” Kim writes in the foreward.
The report paints a terrifying picture of a warmer world, and all the challenges countries would face under that scenario.
“It would be so dramatically different from today’s world that it is hard to describe accurately; much relies on complex projections and interpretations,” Kim writes, but he manages to quantify it enough to make it significantly unpalatable. It would consign millions of people around the world, particularly in tropical regions, to massive suffering and an inability to rise from poverty, while it would completely reverse sustainable development projects in much of this world.
The distribution of impacts, the report writes, would fall unequally on the poorest citizens in the world, living in equatorial regions.
Extreme weather events would proliferate everywhere, with global effects on agricultural production, societal development, and social unrest. Coastal regions would face the greatest threats from rising sea levels, and this would also magnify around the Equator. Oceans would acidify, threatening fragile ecosystems like coral reefs. Food and water systems would break down, and the impacts on human health could be incalculable. Entire populations would have to move from their inundated islands and coasts.