Sunday, April 17, 2011

'Climate change directly affecting development'

Xinhua: Climate change is not just an environment issue but also has socioeconomic implications, and it is directly affecting development all over the world, Former Vice President of the World Bank Vinod Thomas said recently during an exclusive interview with Xinhua. "There is now evidence linking increase in CO2, increase in sea temperature, increase in precipitations in some place and lack of that in some other places, and therefore, more extreme events (happen)," Thomas told Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

"This has been now translating into loss of income, into loss of life and loss of livelihood from Pakistan to Australia, to China, all over the world," said Thomas, currently director-general of Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) at the World Bank Group.

According to a recent IEG report, the frequency of disastrous heat waves (such as in Europe in 2003 and in Russia in 2010) and floods (such as Pakistan 2010) may have doubled, due to climate change. Sea level may rise two to five feet this century, imperiling coastal cities, populous deltas and low-lying islands. Unabated, climate change could derail development, with a one-in-fourth chance of an 11 Fahrenheit rise this century.

Despite the fact that the developed countries are responsible for climate change, Thomas said, the worst effects of climate change are on the poor. Climate change "affects areas unfortunately where the density of population is even more than the environment can hold and heavily appropriated by the poor," he said, adding that developed countries need to do far more than they are doing currently in addressing the challenge…

The Burden Water Wheel, part of the Burden Iron Works in Troy, New York, United States

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