Extreme weather events currently only seen once in hundreds of years, if ever, will become the “new climate normal” as a result of global warming, scientists have warned.
Frequent heat waves and other weather extremes may already be unavoidable, creating a “world of increased risks and instability,” a World Bank Group report said.
Because the Earth’s atmospheric system is “locked into” warming close to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by the middle of the century, it may already be too late to avert extreme weather events, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics scientists warned.
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, said: “This report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course to warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most.
Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, said: “we cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions.”
“Leaders must step up and take the necessary decisions on how we manage our economies towards clean growth and resilient development.
“Urgent and substantial technological, economic, institutional and behavioural change is needed to reverse present trends. Economic development and climate protection can be complementary. We need the political will to make this happen.”