Gland, Switzerland –The World Bank and its member governments must move funding out of fossil fuel projects and into renewable energy if they are to fight the worst impacts of climate change on the poor, says WWF in response to a report released today by the Bank.
The report, Turn down the heat – Why a 4°C world must be avoided, summarizes the latest climate science and describes a world that is 4°C warmer, with droughts, extreme heat, flooding and crop failures. The report warns that at the current rate of CO2 emissions we could reach 4° warming by 2060, with dire consequences for us all, particularly the lives and livelihoods of the poor.
It says that the world can still keep global warming below 2°C, but living up to current commitments and even stronger policies are a must: “Numerous studies show that there are technically and economically feasible emissions pathways to hold warming likely below 2°C. Thus the level of impacts that developing countries and the rest of the world experience will be a result of government, private sector, and civil society decisions and choices, including, unfortunately, inaction.”
According to Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, the report is strong on science but short on what the Bank and its members will do to curb the use of fossil fuels, the single biggest source of CO2 emissions. Last week, the International Energy said that two-thirds of known fossil fuels need to stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change.
“The World Bank’s report shows that climate change is a massive threat to development and the natural world on which so many depend. Climate change is very likely to leave today’s children with a world that is much poorer, less safe and more inequitable. The World Bank and its member governments have the means to finance a fair transition to a cleaner, safer and fairer future. WWF expects that this report is a first step towards that decision,” she says.
Tasneem Essop, WWF’s head of low carbon frameworks, says the report is a timely wakeup call in advance of the UN climate negotiations in Doha, which start next week.
“How many droughts, heat waves and extreme weather events will it take before our leaders take notice? We agree with the World Bank: the facts are out there and there is a moral responsibility to act. The minimalist leadership style of industrialised countries has to change,” she says.
Real leadership must be the hallmark of the Doha negotiations. “Doha must lay the basis for a fair ambition and binding agreement by 2015. There’s no time for world leaders to dither on this anymore, and this World Bank report makes this clear,” says Essop.
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WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
The Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI) is WWF’s global programme addressing climate change, promoting renewable and sustainable energy, scaling up green finance, engaging the private sector and working nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.
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