WASHINGTON, June 19 Much of Bangkok could flood
within the next two decades if global warming stays on its
current trajectory, as sea levels rise and cyclones intensify,
the World Bank said in a new report on Wednesday.
The flooding of 40 percent of the Thai capital was just one
of dozens of negative effects the Washington-based World Bank
warned would happen if the world grew warmer by just 2 degrees
Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), which it said is likely to occur in
the next 20 to 30 years under a "business-as-usual" scenario.
Under World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the global
development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to spur
action on climate change. Kim has said it is impossible to
tackle poverty without dealing with the effects of a warmer
The report builds on an earlier World Bank study released
last November that shows the global impact of a 4 degree Celsius
rise in temperatures by 2100.
"What this report does is give you a much more granular
assessment of what the real experience ... (is) going to be,"
Rachel Kyte, the bank's vice president for sustainable
development, told reporters ahead of the report's launch. "And
in some ways it's even more daunting."
This report focused especially on the effect of higher
temperatures on developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa and
south and southeast Asia, where most of the world's poorest
Crops such as wheat, rice and maize have a hard time
adapting to a warmer climate, potentially leaving 25 to 90
percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa undernourished
by the 2050s, according to the report's projections.
Heat extremes will increase by several times in South Asia,
with droughts likely to hit north-western India, Pakistan and
Afghanistan and reduce available drinking water.
The World Bank also highlighted the impact of climate change
on slums, as more people are displaced and move to the edges of
cities, where they are often exposed to flooding and are more
likely to feel the heat.
"This new report outlines an alarming scenario for the days
and years ahead - what we could face in our lifetime," Kim said
in a statement. "Urgent action is needed to not only reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for
a world of dramatic climate and weather extremes."
The World Bank said it has doubled its spending on
adaptation to climate change last year, to $4.6 billion, to help
countries and cities figure out how best to deal with higher
temperatures. It also loaned $7.1 billion to countries last year
in projects that could help mitigate climate change.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov. Editing by Andre Grenon)