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Climate change 'will trap millions of people in poverty'

The World Bank has warned that shifting rain patterns will make droughts worse and leave other parts of Asia flooded.

Image: udra11 via Shutterstock

GLOBAL POVERTY could be made significantly worse by continued climate change, the World Bank has warned.

The global body has said a two-degree rise in average global temperatures will make regular droughts in Africa significantly worse, while also seeing sea levels rise so high that large portions of Asia will be permanently underwater.

Reefs in south-east Asia will be degraded to the point where local fish stocks will dwindle and disappear, according to a report from the Washington-based bank.

Meanwhile, many cities will also be more vulnerable to violent storms – which could cause havoc for the population of urban slums who could see their accommodation destroyed.

The report, published last week, aims to underline how climate change poses not only an humanitarian challenge but also a grave economic one.

The report suggests that within 20 years, 40 per cent of Africa’s maize fields will be unable to support that crop – which could lead to a 90 per cent increase in undernutrition in some parts of the continent.

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It also notes that the more intense weather systems pose health problems – as they are likely to mean outbreaks of diseases which will become more and more difficult to contain as people leave rural areas to move into cities.

These changes forecast for the tropics illustrate the level of hardships that will be inflicted on all regions eventually, it we fail to keep warming under control,” said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

“Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate and weather extremes.”

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Gavan Reilly

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