Major Asian cities underwater. Millions trapped in poverty. Africa plunged into drought and plagued by food shortages. Flooding of Biblical proportions.
No, that's not the plot to some summer blockbuster set to hit theaters this weekend. That's what a new report from the World Bank says will be our reality within our lifetimes thanks to global warming and climate change.
The alarming report shows what only a two-degree celsius rise in global temperatures will do to our planet within the next 20 to 30 years. Among the scariest conclusions:
- Events like the mammoth Pakistan floods of 2010—which affected 20 million people—will become commonplace, and the monsoon season could bring a major crisis.
- Manilla, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok could find themselves underwater or threatened by intense cyclones and water shortages.
- By the 2030s, doughts and heat will render 40 percent of current maize-growing land unusable. By the 2050s, depending on where you are on the continent, the proportion of the population that is undernourished will increase by 25 to 90 percent.
- People everywhere will be forced into urban areas, exposing even greater numbers of people in informal settlements to disease, pandemics, heatwaves and floods.
"This new report outlines an alarming scenario for the days and years ahead—what we could face in our lifetime," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2°—warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years—that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones. In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth's temperature."
The World Bank alarm bells are just the latest to sound about the the havoc climate change and man-made global warming will cause to the planet. Last week, TakePart laid out exactly what the world has learned in the seven years since An Inconvenient Truth kickstarted the global conversation on climate change, and former Vice President Al Gore challenged President Obama to finally "get serious" about tackling the issue.
[Full report in .pdf format]