Weather extremes such as heat waves that up to now were highly unusual are likely to become the new normal, according to a report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now launched by the World Bank. Climate Change impacts are already being felt today and will grow even if warming is limited below 2 degrees. However, with unabated warming of probably 4 degrees within our century, the consequences increase drastically. The report is the third in a series, entitled “Turn down the heat” by the World Bank.
The new report focuses on how climate impacts and social vulnerability interact, or how the poor are hit hardest in Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and East and Central Asia.
“The impacts in the various regions around the world are enormously diverse, yet two things become clear in our report: almost no region will ultimately be safe, and the risk for the people on the ground is greatest in places where several impacts overlap,” says Christopher Reyer of PIK who coordinated the report that is a result of a cooperation with Climate Analytics (CA) and the UK Overseas Development Institute (ODI). “In cities in the Andes mountains, for instance, populations are likely to experience seasonal water scarcity, while in the same time food prices will increase and extreme weather events create additional stress.”
**Analyzing science to nderstand the risks**
It is this risk perspective that is a defining characteristic of the “Turn down the heat” reports, says Reyer. “We analyze existing climate science findings to identify which are the impacts that really make a difference.” Bill Hare, also a lead author of the report, adds: “Assessing the entire chain of climate impacts - for example, how heat waves trigger crop yield declines and how those trigger health impacts - is key to understanding the risks that climate change poses to development.”
The results are worrying. In the Caribbean, coral reefs are threatened of significantly higher probabilities of annual bleaching already at 1.5-2 degrees warming, affecting fisheries, tourism and coastal hurricane protection. At 4 degrees, most of the land area in all regions studied will be affected by highly unusual and potentially devastating heat extremes.
**“Impacts hit the global poor” - but there are options for action**
“Tackling climate change is a matter of reason, but also of justice,” says the report’s lead-author Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of PIK. “Global warming impacts in the next decades are likely to hit those hardest that contributed least to global greenhouse gas emissions: the global poor.” Developing countries are expected to experience the most severe climate impacts, notably in the tropics, while lacking the means to build resilience. And within these countries, again those parts of the population with the least means are most vulnerable to additional stress.
Climate change impacts hence “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,” says Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “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. 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.”
Weblink to the report: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/publication/turn-down-the-heat
Weblink to Worldbank press release: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/11/23/new-climate-normal-poses-severe-risks
For further information please contact:
PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 2507
Jonas Viering | PIK Potsdam
New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz
Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine