Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Millions on Bangladesh coastline to be trapped

An iceberg floats in Jacobshavn fjord in Greenland in 2006. Photo Reuters

An iceberg floats in Jacobshavn fjord in Greenland in 2006. Photo Reuters

The World Bank has warned that Bangladesh, under a 2°C warming, emerges as an impact hotspot with sea-level rise causing threats to food production, livelihoods, urban areas and infrastructure.
Shifting rain patterns in South Asia leaving some parts under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation, or drinking are the likely impacts of a possible global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius  in the next few decades that threatens to trap millions of people in poverty, a World Bank report on climate change says.
Under 4°C warming, the west coast and southern India, as well as Bhutan and northern Bangladesh, are projected to shift to new, high-temperature climatic regimes, the report said.
The report, prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, reveals how rising global temperatures are increasingly threatening the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, crucially magnifying problems each region is struggling with today.
Unusual heat is projected for 60–80 percent of the Northern Hemisphere summer months in most parts of the region, the WB report said
Bangladesh emerges as an impact hotspot with increasing and compounding challenges occurring in the same timeframe from extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels, extraordinarily high temperatures, and declining crop yields.
Increased river flooding combined with tropical cyclone surges poses a high risk of inundation in areas with the largest shares of poor populations.
A 27 cm sea-level rise, projected for the 2040s, in combination with storm surges from an average 10-year return period cyclone, such as Cyclone Sidr, could inundate an area more than 80-percent larger than the area inundated at present by a similar event, it adds.


Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience builds on a World Bank report released late last year, which concluded the world would warm by 4 degrees Celsius (4°C or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action now.
This new report looks at the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia.
Deaths in India and Bangladesh currently account for 86 percent of global mortalities from cyclones even though only 15 percent of all tropical cyclones affect this region.
“This new report outlines an alarming scenario for the days and years ahead – what we could face in our lifetime,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
“The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2°C — warming which may be reached in 20 to 30  years –  that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones.
In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth’s temperature.”
“These changes forecast for the tropics illustrate the level of hardships that will be inflicted on all regions eventually, it we fail to keep warming under control,” Kim said.
“Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate and weather extremes,” he added.