Turn Down the Heat : Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience
December 02, 2015
A Report for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Analytics.
This report focuses on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and South Asia. Building on the 2012 report, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, this new scientific analysis examines the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability. It finds many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and that as warming increases from present day (0.8°C) to 2°C and 4°C, multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea-level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further severe negative implications for the poorest and most vulnerable.
The report finds that agricultural yields will be affected across the three regions, with repercussions for food security, economic growth, and poverty reduction. In addition, urban areas have been identified as new clusters of vulnerability with urban dwellers, particularly the urban poor, facing significant vulnerability to climate change. In Sub-Saharan Africa, under 3°C global warming, savannas are projected to decrease from their current levels to approximately one-seventh of total land area and threaten pastoral livelihoods. Under 4°C warming, total hyper-arid and arid areas are projected to expand by 10 percent. In South East Asia, under 2°C warming, heat extremes that are virtually absent today would cover nearly 60-70 percent of total land area in northern-hemisphere summer, adversely impacting ecosystems. Under 4°C warming, rural populations would face mounting pressures from sea-level rise, increased tropical cyclone intensity, storm surges, saltwater intrusions, and loss of marine ecosystem services. In South Asia, the potential sudden onset of disturbances to the monsoon system and rising peak temperatures would put water and food resources at severe risk. Well before 2°C warming occurs, substantial reductions in the frequency of low snow years is projected to cause substantial reductions in dry season flow, threatening agriculture.
Many of the worst climate impacts could still be avoided by holding warming below 2°C, but the window for action is closing rapidly. Urgent action is also needed to build resilience to a rapidly warming world that will pose significant risks to agriculture, water resources, coastal infrastructure, and human health.
“Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics. 2013. Turn Down the Heat : Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank.
https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/14000 License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.”