In an introduction, World Bank president Dr. Jim Yong Kim writes that he hopes the report “shocks us into action.” The impacts of 4-degree warming cited in the report include:
By the end of the century, sea-levels will rise by one meter or more as the ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic.
Ocean acidity will increase 150 percent.
Agricultural production will decrease in many areas.
Water resources will be strained.
Major ecosystems like coral reefs and the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed.
Of course an average of 4 degrees warming across the globe doesn’t look the same everywhere. Some areas are wetter. Some are drier. Some will actually be 6 degrees warmer. Some get cyclones. Some get floods. All together, the report finds that it will be very bad, particular for the poorest and most vulnerable communities.
Here’s why the World Bank cares:
It seems clear that climate change in a 4°C world could seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions. This is supported by past observations of the negative effects of climate change on economic growth in developing countries. While developed countries have been and are projected to be adversely affected by impacts resulting from climate change, adaptive capacities in developing regions are weaker. The burden of climate change in the future will very likely be borne differentially by those in regions already highly vulnerable to climate change and variability. Given that it remains uncertain whether adaptation and further progress toward development goals will be possible at this level of climate change, the projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.
The report comes just ahead of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which begins on Nov. 26. Three years ago, leaders agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees as part of a non-binding political accord. But that plan is really just on paper; the science shows that the world is on path to churn right past 2 degrees and hit 4 degrees by 2100. Nations don’t seem likely to take the much-more aggressive measures necessary to hit that target any time soon.
Obama is expected to urge the Southeast Asian country’s government to stay the course toward democratic reforms.
The White House has billed his visit as a celebration of the recent shift by the government of President Thein Sein, symbolized most publicly by the release of dissident Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010 after years of house arrest.
But the visit has also met with criticism from human rights advocates who argue that the accolades are premature and the presidential visit too big a reward for Myanmar’s government. Hundreds of political prisoners remain jailed and an ethnic conflict involving a minority group has erupted in recent violence.
Obama administration officials released excerpts of a speech Obama plans to give at Yangon University.
“The flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished — they must become a shining North Star for all this nation’s people,” the speech says.
The remarks include an indirect reference to the plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority not granted citizenship. Only Myanmar can define its citizens, but Obama’s speech holds up the U.S. as a model.
“I say this because my own country, and my own life, have taught me this,” Obama says in the excerpts. “We have tasted the bitterness of civil war and segregation, but our history shows us that hatred in the human heart can recede, and the lines between races and tribe fade away.”
Obama’s six-hour visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, was expected to include meetings with Thein Sein and Suu Kyi.
Obama planned to praise the iconic dissident, now a member of parliament and leader of the opposition party, for her “fierce dignity.”
“She proved that no human being can truly be imprisoned if hope burns in your heart,” he says, according to the excerpts.
Obama planned to highlight the reforms — recognition of Suu Kyi’s party, release of some political prisoners, a ban on forced labor and a series of cease-fires that halted ethnic violence in some areas.
Obama suggested that his policies toward Myanmar, which opened diplomatic engagement after years of being cut off from the U.S., were at least partly responsible for the changes. And he sought to use Myanmar as a validation of his engagement strategy elsewhere.
“When I took office as president, I sent a message to those governments who ruled by fear: ‘We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,’” the excerpts say. “So today, I have come to keep my promise, and extend the hand of friendship. America now has an ambassador in Rangoon, sanctions have been eased, and we will help rebuild an economy that can offer opportunity for its people, and serve as an engine of growth for the world.”
Myanmar is rich in rubber, timber and other potential exports. It also stands to play a key role in Obama’s effort to keep China’s influence in the region in check.
The visit to Myanmar is part of a three-day tour of Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, a trip aimed at drawing attention to Obama’s so-called pivot to Asia
From the L.A. Times