A new World Bank report exploring the impact of climate change in the Caribbean and globally,finds that 1.5�Cwarmingis already locked into the Earth's atmosphere.
A world 1.5�C warmer will mean more severe droughts and global sea level rise, increasing the risk of damage from storm surges and crop loss and raising the cost of adaptation for millions of people.The poor and underprivileged, as well as the elderly and children, are found to be hit the hardest.
"Without concerted action to reduce emissions, the planet is on pace for 2�C warming by mid-century and 4�C or more by the time today's teenagers are in their eighties," a release from the World Bank website says.
In the Caribbean, the report warns of longer droughts, extreme weather, and increasing ocean acidification.
Rising temperatures also affect food security. The oceans, which have absorbed about 30 per cent of all human-caused carbon dioxide so far, will continue to acidify and warm, damaging coral ecosystems where sea life thrives and sending fish migrating to cooler waters. The result for the Caribbean could be the loss of up to 50 per cent of its current catch volume.
As temperatures rise, heat extremes on par with the heat waves in the United States in 2012 and Russia in 2010 will become more common.Forests, including the Amazon, are also at risk. And melting permafrost will release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that will drive more warming in a dangerous feedback loop.
"Today's report confirms what scientists have been saying � past emissions have set an unavoidable course of warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world's poorest and most vulnerable people the most," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. "We cannot continue down the current path of unchecked, growing emissions."
The new report comes on the heels of strong new warnings from theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) about the pace of climate change.
"The good news is that there is a growing consensus on what it will take to make changes to the unsustainable path we are currently on," President Kim said.
"Our response to the challenge of climate change will define the legacy of our generation. The stakes have never been higher."
Study data are available in open format here.