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 .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.
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”.
But we know that our work alone is not enough. We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem, a response that puts us on a new path of climate smart development and shared prosperity.
Catalyzing Climate Action
In response to the Turn Down the Heat report, World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim has called for a plan equal to the scale of the climate problem and bold ideas that will make the biggest difference. In our view, such a plan will need to work where it matters most and combine the following elements:
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
Our plan is a package, each component founded on the experience and expertise of the Bank. For success, each component requires working coalitions, new approaches to accessing public and private finance, new levels of political ambition and far sighted leadership.
The bold ideas outlined here are rooted in the Bank’s ongoing climate work.
Climate Action at the World Bank
The World Bank 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. Last year, it doubled its financial lending that contributes to adaptation. Increasingly, the Bank is supporting action on the ground to finance the kind of projects that help the poor grow their way out of poverty, increase their resilience to climate change, and achieve emission reductions.
The World Bank has successfully demonstrated innovative ways to mobilize additional resources to finance climate action by working with partners. The most notable success has been the US$7.3 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), which are playing a key role in meeting international objectives regarding climate change. 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.
We are also helping countries to assess and manage climate risks and provide analytical guidance. Portals such as the Climate Change Knowledge Portal and the Climate Finance Options Platform provide cutting edge information, analysis, and tools on climate change. Increasingly, the Bank is engaging in strategic partnerships to both deepen the climate change knowledge base for our clients and to address critical issues like short-lived climate pollutants.
As part of the UN family, the World Bank will be increasingly working with other agencies on climate actions in the context of sustainable development. Further attention will be given in IDA countries to help clients and partners understand and manage the adaptation-development linkages in different contexts.
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.
A China-World Bank (IBRD) partnership, initiated in 1993, has channeled more than US$500 million in grant funding from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol through the China-Bank ODS portfolio. This program has eliminated more than 183,000 ODP tons of ODS in China’s production and consumption sectors.