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FEATURE STORY December 16, 2021

2021: The Year in Climate in 5 Numbers

This past year marks a turning point in the way many people think about climate change. No longer just a future concern, its compounding effects were increasingly visible in 2021 in the form of extreme heat, forest fires, flooding, storms, and drought – all amid a pandemic. With the well-being of current and future generations at stake, the World Bank Group is supporting developing countries as they tackle climate change, poverty, and development at the same time. These 5 numbers help tell the story of the challenges and their solutions.

5X -- The order of magnitude by which climate change is making intense heat waves more likely

“Since 1850, the earth has warmed by 1 degree Celsius. It looks small, but it’s enough to multiply by 5 the frequency of extreme heat waves: what used to be an exceptional heat wave happening once every 50 years, now happens every 10 years,” says World Bank Senior Climate Advisor, Stéphane Hallegatte.

What may the future hold? Dive into the data with Hallegatte.

For more climate data videos see the World Bank Group at COP26 on YouTube.


216­ million -- The number of people who could migrate within their own countries by 2050 because of climate change

New research by the World Bank projects that millions of people could be on the move in the next decades, leaving places that can no longer sustain them and going to areas that offer better opportunities. But Groundswell finds that the world’s collective actions taken today to lower greenhouse gas emissions and help people adapt could reduce future internal climate migration by as much as 80%.

Learn more in the Groundswell: Part 2 report and this blog post by World Bank Vice President of Sustainable Development Juergen Voegele.

The report “Groundswell: Acting on Internal Climate Migration” projects that climate change could drive 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050.

The report “Groundswell: Acting on Internal Climate Migration” projects that climate change could drive 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050.


$26 billion -- Climate finance delivered by the World Bank Group in Fiscal Year 2021

The Bank Group’s Climate Change Action Plan, covering fiscal years 2021-2025, increases climate finance to 35% of its overall commitments on average. The plan prioritizes key sectors responsible for 90% of global GHGs and which must be transformed to address climate change. Learn more: World Bank Group COP26 Climate Briefs

Global greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 2016

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector, 2016

Source: Adapted from Hannah Ritchie, Our World in Data, 2020: Data sources: Climate Watch, World Resources Institute, 2020.


Article 6 -- The Paris Agreement’s rulebook governing carbon markets

Article 6 allows countries, companies and others to cooperate with each other to deliver on Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement; for example, one country can transfer carbon credits for emission reductions to another country, but these credits cannot be counted by both the seller and the buyer. The World Bank supports the monitoring, reporting, and verification of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (also known as mitigation actions), such as the decommissioning of coal plants or conservation of forests. Earlier in 2021, Mozambique became the first country to be paid by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility for verified emission reductions, or carbon credits, generated through community-based sustainable forestry. The transaction signals to international carbon markets that large-scale programs to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+) can produce the high-integrity, high-quality carbon credits that buyers demand. FCPF is set to pay up to $720 million to 15 countries for emission reductions over the next several years.

Learn more:


Women planting trees in Mozambique.


92% -- The share of World Bank projects with climate finance

The World Bank Group has included climate change in its projects since 2016, screening them for climate risk and for opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and address adaptation needs whenever possible. By 2020, the share of World Bank projects investing in climate action more than tripled to reach 78%, while more than 50% also addressed climate change adaptation. In Fiscal Year 2021, 92% of projects had “climate co-benefits" -- meaning they invested in climate action; fully half financed adaptation.

A new World Bank diagnostic tool will take climate change mainstreaming to another level, using strong analytics and high-quality emissions data to help countries design and implement their climate strategies.

Learn more:


Data visualization of World Bank projects increasingly mainstreaming Climate Change (IBRD & IDA)