New climate report warns of longer droughts, extreme weather, and increase in ocean acidification
The world’s atmosphere is already locked into a 1.5 °C temperature rise because of past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions, posing serious threat to lives and livelihoods around the world, according to a new climate study commissioned by the World Bank Group.
The report, Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, warns that as temperatures rise, melting permafrost will release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that will drive more warming in a dangerous feedback loop. Forests, including the Amazon, are also at risk.
According to the World Bank press release, the world even 1.5°C (warmer) will mean more severe droughts and global sea level rise, increasing the risk of damage from storm surges and crop loss and raising the cost of adaptation for millions of people.
“Today’s report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course of warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most,” said Jim Yong, group president of World Bank. “We cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions.”
The report warned of longer droughts, extreme weather, and increase in ocean acidification in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the tropical Andes, rising temperatures will reduce the annual build-up of glacier ice and the spring meltwater that some 50 million people in the low-land farms and cities rely on. Heat and drought stress will substantially increase the risk of large-scale forest loss, affecting Amazon ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the forests’ ability to store carbon dioxide.
Rising temperatures will also affect food security. The oceans, which have absorbed about 30 per cent of all human-caused carbon dioxide so far, will continue to acidify and warm, damaging coral ecosystems, according to the report.
The new report comes on the heels of strong new warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about the pace of climate change and the energy transformations necessary to stay within 2°C warming.
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