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Monday 16.07.2018 | Name days: Hermīne, Estere

Climate scientists applaud dire World Bank report

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Climate scientists who have been warning of the dangerous effects of global warming now have the World Bank on their side, after a new report from that organization calling for action to prevent climate catastrophe.

“The World Bank did a great service to society by issuing this report,” said Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

The report, issued by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics for the World Bank, urges nations to work to prevent the Earth from warming 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) past pre-industrial averages. Already, global mean temperatures are running about 1.3 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) hotter than before the onset of the industrial revolution, Live Science wrote.

Likewise, carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is high and rising. As of September, the concentration was 391 parts per million, a record high, up from a pre-industrial 278. That number is now rising by about 1.8 parts per million each year.

All of these changes are accompanied by ice loss. As a result, average sea level has risen between 6 and 8 inches (15 and 20 centimeters) or so on average around the world.

But what the World Bank warns of is an even bleaker future. Even if the world’s nations deliver on their promises of emission limits and global warming mitigation, there is a 20 percent chance that the world will hit the 4 degrees C mark by 2100, according to the report. If emissions continue as is, the planet may reach that point by the 2060s.

International negotiators have agreed that warming should be limited to just half that, or 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C), in that time. A world that is 2 degrees warmer would have its own consequences, but it is crucial to hold that line, the World Bank report argues. A 4-degree warming would mean a sea-level rise of 1.6 to 3.2 feet (0.5 to 1 meter) on average, with the tropics catching the brunt of the change.

Climate research also suggests tropical storms would strengthen and drought would increase across much of the tropical and subtropical world.

“A world in which warming reaches 4 degrees C above pre-industrial levels (hereafter referred to as a 4 degree C world), would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services,” the authors wrote in the World Bank report.

But Mann says that “the alternative energies (wind, solar, geothermal, etc) are there. We just need to deploy and scale them up by investing immediately in the necessary infrastructure”.

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