Climate change is a fundamental threat to sustainable development and the fight against poverty. The World Bank is concerned that without bold action now, the warming planet threatens to put prosperity out of reach of millions and roll back decades of development. Read More »
Climate change is a fundamental threat to sustainable economic development and the fight against poverty. The World Bank is concerned that without bold action now, the warming planet threatens to put prosperity out of reach of millions and roll back decades of development.
The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed. Current global mean temperature is about 0.8° C above pre industrial levels. The twelve years from 2001 to 2012 rank among the warmest since record keeping began 133 years ago. The frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather-related events have increased.
Recent experience is a stark reminder that no country – rich or poor – is immune from the impacts of climate-related disasters today.
Turn Down the Heat, a snapshot of the latest climate science prepared for the Word Bank by the Potsdam Institute in Germany, says we are on a path to a 4°C (7.2°F) warmer world by the end of this century under current greenhouse gas emissions pledges. The report provides a clear picture of the devastating impacts on agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, and human health. While every region will be affected, those least able to adapt - the poor and most vulnerable - would be hit hardest. A follow up report, focused on impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia, tells us that if the world warms by 2°C (3.6°F) -- warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years -- that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense storms.
The World Bank believes a 4°C warmer world can, and must be avoided – Immediate global action is needed to slow the growth in greenhouse gas emissions this decade and help countries prepare for a 2°C warmer world and adapt to changes that are already locked in.
At the World Bank, we are stepping up our mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk management work, and will increasingly look at all our business through a “climate lens”.
Catalyzing Climate Action
But we know that our work alone is not enough. World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim has called for a global response equal to the scale of the climate challenge and bold ideas that will make the biggest difference:
Building low-carbon, climate-resilient cities by mobilizing direct finance and expertise and helping fast growing cities avoid locking in carbon intensive infrastructure.
Moving forward on climate-smart agriculture through building an Action Alliance to realize the triple win of increasing yields and income, making farms more resilient to climate change, and helping to sequester carbon in the soil, and
Working with others to accelerate energy efficiency, investment in renewables and universal access to modern energy.
To move forward on these initiatives at the required scale, we must drive mitigation action in top emitting countries, get prices and incentives right, and get finance flowing towards low carbon green growth. So as part of our plan we are also exploring:
Laying the groundwork for placing a robust value on carbon
Supporting the removal of harmful fossil fuel subsidies
These elements are a package, each component founded on the experience and expertise of the Bank’s ongoing climate work. For success, each component requires working coalitions, new approaches to accessing public and private finance, new levels of political ambition and far sighted leadership.
Climate Action at the World Bank
The World Bank Group continues to face unprecedented demand from many countries for support in their efforts to address development and climate change challenges. Today, the Bank is helping 130 countries take action on climate change.
The World Bank has successfully demonstrated innovative ways to mobilize additional resources to finance climate action by working with partners. One notable success has been the US$7.6 billion Climate Investment Funds, which are designed to provide scaled-up financing, through the Multilateral Development Banks, to initiate transformational change toward climate-resilient, low-carbon development. The World Bank is Trustee of 15 carbon finance initiatives. The Carbon Finance Unit supports more than 150 projects through purchase of about 220 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.
To tackle SLCPs, which include methane, black carbon, tropospheric ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons, the Bank launched a review of its own portfolio to identify ways to do more through its projects to reduce the emission of these pollutants. The report, Integration of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in World Bank Activities, found that 7.7 percent of World Bank commitments or approximately US$ 18 billion went into ‘SLCP-relevant’ activities between 2007 and 2012.
The World Bank (IBRD) has been working with Mexico through the Efficient Lighting and Appliances Project (FY11) on providing a mix of financial and technical support to Mexico’s efforts to deal with climate change. The “Sustainable Light” ("Luz Sustentable") program of the Mexican government entered the Guinness Book of Records for having replaced 22.9 million incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or “energy-saving” ones. In total, more than 5.5 million Mexican families now use energy-saving lamps that consume 20 percent of the energy and last 10 times longer than traditional light bulbs.
The World Bank–China Montreal Protocol partnership has, since 1991, phased-out the consumption and production of over 219,000 tons of ozone-depleting substances from sectors as diverse as refrigeration, air-conditioning, foam manufacturing, aerosol production and fire extinguishing. Because these substances also have global warming potential, this also avoided the equivalent of 885 million tons of carbon dioxide avoided, which is akin to taking more than 184 million cars off the roads.
The seventh largest wheat exporter in the World, Kazakhstan’s 1.85 million hectares or 10 percent of all Kazakh farm land is now using a climate smart agricultural technique known as ‘no-till’ farming.
Channeling funds from the Global Environment Facility, the Bank has supported Tunisia’s bid to achieve greater energy efficiency. This has resulted in 710,333 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided between 2004 and 2011, and an annual emission avoidance of 101,476 tons of CO2.
Approximately 7.6 million rural inhabitants in Ethiopia received support under the Productive Safety Net program that provides immediate and expanded financing in response to onset of drought.