Asia will Drown, Africa will Starve in 30 years: World Bank Report on Global Warming

The World Bank report, “Turn Down the Heat,” (available in pdf form here warns of severe climate effects even if we manage to limit global warming to 2 degrees C., and a much worse fate if we go to 4 degrees C.

The world is now putting 35 billion metric tons of C02 into the atmosphere every year (5 billion of that, or 14%, is generated by the US, which is only 5% of the world’s population). By 2022 or so we may be putting out 42 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. If we go on like this, we will certainly produce a “4 degrees C. world” — a worst case scenario, in which our climate becomes unstable and there are floods, droughts and heat waves on a scale that make a typical Hollywood summer disaster movie look like a Smurf cartoon.

The report says that the warming will produce massive flooding in parts of Asia, a 50% reduction in the fish catch in southeast Asia, and severe and prolonged drought in Africa.

Or, as Max Follmer put it, Africa will starve, and Asia will drown, with major impacts beginning as soon as 30 years from now.

Excerpts from the report:

Heat Waves

“In the absence of climate change, extreme heat waves in Europe, Russia, and the United States, for example, would be expected to occur only once every several hundred years. Observations indicate a tenfold increase in the surface area of the planet experiencing extreme heat since the 1950s. The area of the Earth’s land surface affected by drought has also likely increased substantially over the last 50 years, somewhat faster than projected by climate models. The 2012 drought in the United States impacted about 80 percent of agricultural land, making it the most severe drought since the 1950s. Negative effects of higher temperatures have been observed on agricultural production, with recent studies indicating that since the 1980s global maize and wheat production may have been reduced significantly compared to a case without climate change.”

Drought and Flood

“In a world rapidly warming toward 4°C, the most adverse impacts on water availability are likely to occur in association with growing water demand as the world population increases.

Some estimates indicate that a 4°C warming would significantly exacerbate existing water scarcity in many regions, particularly northern and eastern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, while additional countries in Africa would be newly confronted with water scarcity on a national scale due to population growth.

• Drier conditions are projected for southern Europe, Africa (except some areas in the northeast), large parts of North America and South America, and southern Australia, among others.

• Wetter conditions are projected in particular for the northern high latitudes—that is, northern North America, northern Europe, and Siberia—and in some monsoon regions. Some regions may experience reduced water stress compared to a case without climate change.”

40% of US emissions are from dirty coal plants, the most polluting of our energy sources. All of these plants should be closed in 10 years and replaced with wind, solar and other renewables.

6 Responses

  1. Net immigration in the US over the last 10 years- some agency claims . IT is a mess, and favored immigrants throughout the 80′s We went from a near ZPG society in the 70′s to 50% higher only 30 years later. oh welll :)

  2. I suggest that you read the IPCC reports. If you believe that there is insufficient evidence presented there or that these scientists have been bought, well then I doubt you could be convinced by anything. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. Being likely not all that far from my own personal physical/temporal endpoint, I will just join you in taking smug comfort in the fact that (as far as we know, anyway, like all the other unknown unknowns you cite) death puts us beyond consequences and remorse.

    I will add a dash of bitters to the brew, however, in noting the possibility that the worst of human predators and parasites are the most likely to escape death and keep on eating whatever’s left of the planet: “Russian Mogul to ‘Forbes’ Billionaires: Limitless Lifespans Can Be Yours” link to forbes.com That won’t happen either. Will it?

  4. I’m sorry, but the problem with this kind of anecdotal evidence is that it assumes that what you’re experiencing is typical of the rest of the planet. It isn’t. That is the point of this article – to inform you of what is going on outside your own experience.

    The fact is that global oil reserves are running out, and oil companies are using other sources of petroleum that were considered too environmentally destructive, and too expensive to be used, that is until we started running out of the crude oil we have always used. Moreover, the continued flow of oil to your country, and mine, is due in large part to the willingness of our armies to march into nasty places to secure it for our own use. The US couldn’t be responsible for 14% of global emissions on 5% of the world’s population, unless we are also taking triple our share of the oil to burn. (Oh, and if the cost of these wars were incorporated into the price of oil, it would cost a lot more to fill up the Chevy. At that point solar and wind would be a no brainer decision.

    FInally, you are unfortunately running into one of the drawbacks of language and culture- people have varying associations with what words mean, and for you “Global Warming” doesn’t make sense in the middle of a snowy winter. Understandable. What people need to learn is that “Global Warming” doesn’t mean golf in February. It means that raising the overall temperature of the world’s atmosphere a couple degrees, means that there is exponentially more ENERGY in the air (remember science? Heat is molecules moving around faster). All that extra energy leads to CHANGES in the way weather behaves. Those changes may not be felt too much where you live, but the consequences of a lot more energy means that storms are a lot more severe, and weather patterns can become disrupted and areas that used to be good for agriculture, CHANGE, and then become bad for agriculture. Then what do those people do for food?

    A little more heat, means a little more water stays evaporated into gas form, so a little less water is in liquid form on the ground. Multiply that all over the planet, and a LOT LESS water is available for drinking. Oh, but wait – the ice caps are melting, so many of those low lying areas with very flat lands and beaches will become SCUBA diving spots (and that extra seawater wont help the loss of fresh water).

    Do you think the world bank is some liberal environmental organization? Why do you really think the U.S. is building a 700 mile long fence along the southern US border? I don’t have any more information on that than you do, but I can add. Net immigration in the US over the last 10 years is basically zero, but we’re spending 30 billion dollars this year on a 12′ high steel reinforced fence, based in 6 foot thick concrete. Oh, and where are those people going to go when the food runs out and the water evaporates, and the islands become submerged?

  5. “The problem with death professor, is that you and I won’t be here in fifty years to see what actually happened”: spoken like the most narcissistic members of the Baby Boomers. Since you won’t be alive to experience the negative effects of climate change, who cares if billions of younger folks suffer, right? I can agree that doom-mongering isn’t productive but neither is this “it won’t happen to us older folks so who cares” approach. So the world’s fine as long as you’re ok, right? That sort of selfishness helped create the problem when it could’ve been addressed in reasonable ways decades ago.

    You could’ve focused on the more constructive elements of the essay, like the fact that RIGHT NOW we’re undercutting our own health and well-being with our current forms of energy and that people around the world are currently suffering catastrophes due to water shortage and new climate patterns, instead of reading this article for excuses to be oblivious since apocalypse hasn’t come yet. But if you keep the same attitude, please don’t wait another 20 years to die. Do it as soon as you can so you won’t be in the way as people try to figure out this mess.

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