Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New scientific report says a 4°C world will be devastating but avoidable

By Ochieng’ Ogodo

[NAIROBI] The world could be as much as 4°C warmer by 2060 without further action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent World Bank report
 If this happens then it will cause severe food shortages, extreme weather and sea-level rise, according to the report: Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided. 
The report released 18 November and focusing on the impacts of a world 4°C hotter by the end of the century, predicts sea-levels rise by more than a meter by 2100, flooding cities in Mozambique, Bangladesh and Venezuela and devastating small island states and river delta regions when combined with projected increased intensity of tropical storms.
Increase in droughts and extreme rainfall incidences are predicted in the report to double in magnitude in a 4°C world, and will damage ecosystems, increase species extinction, and impact on food security.
“This report should be a wakeup call to the world that we must work harder and faster to combat climate change,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.
“Rapid cuts in CO2 emissions are necessary to stabilize long-term temperatures, but in the near-term, aggressively addressing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and HFCs can provide rapid climate, health, and food security benefits, particularly in the critical vulnerable regions that are already suffering some of the worst impacts of climate change,” Zaelke said.
Cutting SLCPs can reduce global warming rate in half for the next several decades, cut the rate of warming over the elevated regions of the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau by at least half, and the rate of warming in the Arctic by two-thirds over the next 30 years, while saving millions of lives per year and preventing billions of dollars in crop losses. 
Fast-action strategies to reduce SLCPs combined with necessary reductions in carbon dioxide are essential for slowing already accelerating extreme weather events in the near-term, while maintaining global temperature at or below 2°C above preindustrial levels through the end of the century.
“Reducing emissions of these short-lived climate forcers is critical for protecting the world’s vulnerable peoples and vulnerable ecosystems,” said Zaelke.  “When we talk about sustainable development,” Zaelke added, “this is precisely what we mean. These measures reduce climate change, save lives, provide access to clean energy, and improve food security all at once.”

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