Countries and communities around the world are already experiencing stepped-up climate change impacts – including droughts, floods, more intense and frequent natural disasters, and sea-level rise – and the most vulnerable are being hit the hardest.
- Under the Paris Agreement, the world committed to limiting the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century and “endeavor to limit” them even more to 1.5C.
- Global temperatures have already risen 1.2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Climate change increases volatility and threatens efforts to end poverty.
- Without urgent action to reduce vulnerability, provide access to basic services, and build resilience, climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
- The impact of extreme natural disasters is equivalent to a $520 billion loss in annual consumption and forces some 26 million people into poverty each year.
- Climate change is already having real and measurable impacts on human health, with impacts expected to grow. Co-pollutants associated with carbon emissions are already responsible for more than 7 million premature deaths each year, while direct costs to health are estimated to be between US$2-4 billion/year by 2030.
- Undernutrition is identified as the largest health impact of climate change in the 21st century. A 6 percent decline in global wheat yields and 10 percent decline in rice yields is expected for each additional 1°C rise in global temperature, with substantial impacts on undernutrition and stunting in food insecure or poor regions. An additional 7.5 million children are expected to be stunted by 2030, 4 million of whom are expected to be affected by severe stunting, increasing to 10 million children by 2050.
Climate change is becoming a potent driver of internal migration.
- By 2050, according to the World Bank’s recently launched “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration” report, more than 143 million people in three regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, could be forced to move within their own countries to escape the slow-onset impacts of climate change, such as water stress and crop failure.
- With concerted action, including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level – this 143m number could be dramatically reduced, by as much as 80 percent, or 100 million people.
The financing required for an orderly transition to a low carbon, resilient global economy can be counted in the trillions, not billions.
Climate action is a vast opportunity for sustainable global development, with investment potential in the trillions of dollars and the ability to drive innovation and create green industries and new jobs.
Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement will require coordinated global action at an unprecedented scale and speed.
Policy action, including carbon pricing, can help create incentives for change.