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Global warming to raise risk of damaging floods: report

Nov 24, 2014

World is locked into 1.5°c warming & risks are rising, says a new World Bank report.

New Delhi: According to a new World Bank report, glaciers are receding in the Andes of South America and across the mountains of Central Asia. As temperatures continue to warm, their melting will bring more water to farms and cities earlier in the growing season, raising the risks of damaging floods.

“Within a few decades, however, the risk of flood will become risk of drought. Without action to stop the drivers of climate change, most of the Andean glaciers and two-thirds of Central Asia’s glaciers could be gone by the end of the century,” says the report.

The study indicates that these changes are already underway, with global temperatures at 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times and the beginning of its impact on food security, water supplies and livelihoods.

The report warned that in absence of concerted action to reduce emissions, the planet was on pace for 2°C warming by mid-century.

The report warns that with rise in temperatures, heat extremes on par with the heat waves in the United States in 2012 and Russia in 2010 would become more common. “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. A world even 1.5°C 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,” the report said.

“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,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.  “We cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions.”

As governments gather in Lima for the next round of climate negotiations, this report and others provide direction and evidence of the risks and the need for ambitious goals to decarbonize economies now.

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