HEAT WAVE
More heat waves can be expected with the planet locked into a 1.5 degree C rise already.REUTERS

A World Bank report notes that the world is already locked into an unavoidable rise in temperature of almost 1.5 degree C thanks to past and predicted emissions.

This can rise up to 2 degrees by mid-century and 4 degrees by end of century if there are no concerted actions to curb emissions, says the report titled 'Turn down the heat'.

"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 on Sunday.

Even a 1.5 degree rise will mean more severe droughts and sea level rise, more storms and more crop losses. It will drive more warming by releasing methane from frozen permafrost.

The oceans will continue to acidify and warm, damaging coral ecosystems and sending fish migrating to cooler waters. The result could be a loss of up to 50% of current catch volume.

While melting glaciers will mean waters brought down to farms much earlier in the season, threatening crops, the floods will turn to droughts as the glaciers that supply water downstream disappear by end of the century.

Extreme heat will spread across more of the land for longer periods of time and cities will feel the effects. Capital cities in Middle East will face four months of exceedingly hot days, warns the report.

"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. "Action on climate change does not have to come at the expense of economic growth."

Kim goes on to stress the role of clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation and carbon pricing to mitigate the effects of past emissions.

Noting the role for private sector in this, the report calls on clear, consistent policy from governments to aid businesses make the shift.

The report looked at the impact of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

It is the third in a series of reports commissioned by the World Bank Group from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.

The UNEP report released last week has also called for complete halt to emissions by end of the century. Touching on the finite carbon budget, the UNEP had pointed out that there was less than 1000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left for the world to emit if it is to avoid irreversible climate change.

The World Bank and UNEP reports follow the IPCC synthesis report that has warned of major catastrophic changes unless use of fossil fuels is totally halted.