Imagine a world where global average temperatures are 4°C (7.2°F) above pre-industrial levels. Summers are extremely hot, plants struggle to survive, ocean levels are rising, and storms are larger than ever before. Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, a climate report released in November 2012 by the World Bank, estimates that global average temperatures will be 4°C higher within the next century. According to the report, the current average global temperature is already 0.8°C higher than pre-industrial levels.
The World Bank’s press release recapped the report: “Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided summarizes a range of the direct and indirect climatic consequences under the current global path for greenhouse gas emissions.” Some of the key findings include:
- Extreme heat waves that would typically occur once every several hundred years will occur almost yearly during the summer months.
- The highest temperatures seen would range from 4° C to 10° C. Certain areas in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of the United States could see average summer temperature increases of 6° C or more.
- By 2100, sea level is likely to rise by 0.5 to 1 meter (1.6 to 3.3 feet)
- “Agriculture, water resources, human health, biodiversity and ecosystem services are likely to be severely impacted. This could lead to large-scale displacement of populations and consequences for human security and economic and trade systems.”
After the close of the UN Climate Change Conference, NPR interviewed Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank, on the report. One of the most shocking findings that Mr. Kim discussed in the interview was that, “…some 97 percent of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is a reality. I’m a scientist. I’m trained in medicine. There are very few things in all of science around which 97 percent of scientists agree.” Even with this level of acceptance among scientists, there is still little, if any, political action taking place to stop climate change. Still, Mr. Kim remains positive that the time of fossil fuels is coming to an end, “…as the citizens begin to understand the impact of carbon emissions on their everyday lives, I think that the cry to do something will get louder and louder.”
Clean Energy Action agrees with Mr. Kim and works every day to provide all citizens with the information of these carbon impacts. The people’s cry has been loud for many years, but the decision makers haven’t listened. We must lead with our insistent voices and our growing actions to force the leaders to protect the future for this and all future generations.