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Thu Aug 21 22:02:34 SAST 2014

Put oil subsidies into green infrastructure: World Bank

Sapa-dpa | 19 November, 2012 09:37
Rows of solar panels face skywards at the Greenough River Solar project near the town of Walkaway, about 350 km (217 miles) north of Perth.
Image by: STAFF / REUTERS

The World Bank is calling for governments to channel the 1 trillion dollars they now pay for fossil fuel subsidies into boosting “green” infrastructure to cut down on carbon emissions.

The initiative was one of several it promoted in releasing its latest report on global warming, “Turn Down the Heat.”  World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warned that major coastal areas like Mozambique and Bangladesh are likely to face major disruptions over the coming century, if warming continues on its present course.

Rising ocean temperatures, which are melting vast regions of the polar icecaps, are also blamed for the increased violence of hurricanes and cyclones.

“I think Hurricane Sandy has brought the issues of climate change much more into focus, especially here in the United States, but I think elsewhere as well,” Kim told reporters. He was referring to the massive storm that hit New York and New Jersey in late October, killing more than 100 people and laying waste to large densely populated regions on the East Coast.

The scientific “Turn Down the Heat” report was prepared by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics ahead of the next UN conference on climate change from November 26 to December 7 in Doha, Qatar.

It gives a snapshot of the latest climate science, saying the Earth is on a path to become a 4-degree-Celsius-warmer planet by 2100. It found that current pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions blamed for global warming will not make much of a dent in the temperature rise.

A 4-degree-rise in temperature will cause sea levels to rise by 0.5 to 1 metre by 2100; trigger extreme heat waves every year instead of every several hundred years; and could even force complete abandonment of an island or region, the report says.

Even the international goal of keeping temperature increases to only 2 degrees Celsius “would already bring serious damages and risks, particularly for the most vulnerable and poorest countries,” Kim said.

The projections offer little new information in the way of expectations by climate scientists, but added pressure to the world community to make progress in stalled climate negotiations.

At the last UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, in December 2011, negotiators sealed a commitment to negotiate a broader long-range climate treaty but postponed a decision to December 2012 about extending the Kyoto Protocol.

The five-year commitment under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming ends in December.

The European Union is practically alone in carrying out its obligations to reduce carbon emissions, and has insisted that emerging economies like economic powerhouse China, which were exempted from the Kyoto Protocol, and the United States, which never ratified the treaty, start paying their share of the cost of soaring carbon emissions.

The question of whether the Kyoto Protocol should be extended to 2017 or 2020 was also left open in Durban. The grace period allows time for individual countries to calculate their goals for reducing carbon emissions.

Under the agreements in Durban, the 193 members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change — the umbrella for Kyoto - have until 2015 to agree on a new legally-binding climate treaty, aimed at reducing greenhouse gasses blamed for global warming.

The treaty would go into effect from 2020.

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Thu Aug 21 22:02:34 SAST 2014 ::