World Bank Outlines Global Warming 'Doomsday Scenario'

Howard Schneider examines a recent study by the World Bank, issued as a call-to-action for the international community not merely to curb, but to plan for and mitigate the crises that a 4°C rise in global temperatures would bring.

Warning of widespread crop failures, malnutrition, and dislocated populations, the World Bank issued a study Sunday urging the international community to take action on the mounting challenges of an increasingly sweltering planet.

The report identified a threshold of 4 degrees Celsius, beyond which global warming could cause irreparable damage to human settlements, including a 3-foot rise in sea levels by 2100. Paraphrasing World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Schneider writes, "World climate goals aim to hold the mean temperature increase to under 2 degrees Celsius, by curbing emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat... That goal is unlikely to be met, with an increase of 3 or 3.5 degrees Celsius now considered probable."

In comparison, the last ice age followed a drop in global temperatures of about 4.5 degrees Celsius.

"The kind of sea level rise we are talking about is going to make the process of urban planning and services to the poor absolutely fundamental," said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development.

Notes Schneider, "But the bank report concluded that a 4 degree jump in average temperatures would push some countries or regions to the brink of collapse, regardless of how hard they try to adapt."

Full Story: World Bank warns of ‘4 degree’ threshold



Irvin Dawid's picture

Skeptics respond to World Bank's climate warning

Wendy Koch of USA Today writes on the World Bank report as well on Nov. 20, but unlike the Washington Post, included the skeptical reactions from the conservative Cato Institue and Heritage Foundation:

"This report is non-science," says Patrick Michaels, director of the libertarian Cato Institute's Center for the Study of Science. He says the 4-degree warming is an 'implausible outlier'."

"David Kreutzer, an energy economist at the conservative Heritage Foundation, agrees. He also says the World Bank's recommendations, including redirecting money now spent on fossil-fuel subsidies toward solar and wind energy production, could ultimately do more harm than good for developing countries."

"Proposing energy killing climate policies for the emerging economies is like telling the emaciated to start their diet now because they may become overweight in 90 years," Kretuzer says.

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95