Friday, November 30, 2012

Last one for the year

Please read the executive summary for Thursday's class.

Chances are we will have a quiz Tuesday on the chapter and Thursday on this reading.



  1. 4 degrees celsius is equivalent to 7.2 degrees fahrenheit, which is like the difference between the temperature in Lexington at 10 am and 11am. Unfortunately I couldn't find any sources about the impact of temperature fluctuations in Rockbridge County but it would be interesting to see if it effects the livestock and crops of regions in proximately to us. The article emphasizes the need for action to subdue the current warming trend as an increase of "4 degrees could occur as early as the 2060s". This is an international effort, and will always remain an international effort because the growth of industrialization, especially in developed countries, produce the greatest consequences on the least developed countries. We already learned that theoretically, investments should flow from north to south because of greater marginal returns. However, this does not occur because of the greater perceived risk to returns. Despite increased globalization (increased trade) LDCs still rely on an agriculture intensive economy. An increase as little as 1 degree Celsius is already proven to disrupt the ecosystems and resources that developing countries rely on to generate at least some amount of output. It is astounding that the Untied States only contributes .18% of GDP to aid when the costs of tariffs and industrialization seems to take much more than .18% from the LDCs.

    The most shocking point of this article is the "cascade effect" of warming on all factors of production. Decades of progress (debatable) can be reversed with just 7.2 degrees fahrenheit. 7.2 degrees will be responsible for numerous deaths. 7.2 degrees will be responsible for the stricken economy of numerous countries. 7.2 degrees, only a single cost of industrialization, will place the most significant consequences of countries that have not even gained very much from "global" progress.

  2. This article gives a picture of what the world would be like if global temperature warmed by 4 degrees C - an action scientists are predicting will happen by the end of this century if serious policy changes are not initiated. One of the most striking points this article made (that I had never before considered) was the lopsided impact of global warming on LDCs versus the more wealthy and developed countries, which hold more tools to combat the problems associated with warming temperatures. Especially when one considered the tropics, an area which is made up of mainly countries with low development, there will be more extreme sea level rise, temperature fluctuations, aridity and drought, cyclone intensity, etc. This will all occur in the area of the world where the countries are the least able to deal effectively with these problems.

    This all leads back to the new idea this article poses - that global warming isn't just an issue for environmental conditions. It is also a development problem, because warming of 4 degrees C (or 7.2 degrees F) "threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development". Taking this into consideration, the importance of taking immediate action on climate change becomes even more apparent. An MIT study the article cites found that higher temperatures "substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries" in addition to other wide-reaching effects. Ultimately I found this article succeeded in its goal of shocking people in the hopes that would produce action. The article does an excellent job of highlighting the extreme global problems that would occur should temperature continue to rise and reach the 4 degree Celcius mark.

  3. The World Bank finds unequivocal effects of greenhouse gas emission induced climate change and is adamant that the world must do something about it. Instances like the extreme Russian heat wave in 2010 and the US drought in 2012 offer convincing evidence to support the assertion that global warming is not only coming eventually but is already having significant impacts. Unfortunately, it seems that developing countries will bear the greatest burden if the globe becomes 4 degrees C warmer because they have the least ability to offset negative consequences and the greatest reliance on agriculture.

    For me, the real challenge is not identifying effects of global warming but determining how to combat these negative changes. It seems that climate change has negative effects on both economic development and the environment; therefore the world must create strategies to combat both symptoms. Further, the solution to these problems should be somewhat tied together, a country will not experience favorable economic outcomes if it constantly suffers from flooding or extreme drought. The executive summary extensively lays out all of the horrific impacts observed thus far and suspect for the future. What they do not do is lay out a plan to minimize negative environmental impact. This is a report and not a scholarly article, but I would be very interested in strategies the World Bank would like to see implemented to combat climate change. The article discusses how climate change disproportionally affects poorer counties that live off agriculture or are near the ocean. I would be interested to know if things like turning off the lights when I leave the room and opting to carpool instead of taking separate cars would have a positive impact in the developing world, or if the climate is a lost cause. One of my key policy suggestions from this report would be that if each person around the globe took a few simple steps to minimize their carbon footprint there may be a positive effect on the environment.

  4. Well this is the second time I am having to respond to this article because the blog decided it didnt want me to publish my comment. This executive summary from the World Bank presents a view of what is likely to occur in the world if climate change continues at its current rate. The main findings suggest that the global average temperature may increase by up to four degrees celsius over the next century. This is massive considering that the last ice age saw temperature decreases of only 4.5 to 7 degrees celsius. The biggest increases in temperature will occur in northern, higher latitudes. These areas include North America, Northern Eruope and Russia (i.e. much of the industrialized, first world countries). However, the greatest negative impact will result in lower and middle latitude countries. This is the case for several reasons. First, the middle and lower latitude countries are already warmer than higher latitude countries. Thus, even smaller increases of say 2.5 degrees Celsius will have profound negative impacts on the ecosystems and human well-being, potentially making some areas very harsh for inhabitation. Second, these areas are more likely to face extreme weather events such as droughts or heat waves than higher latitudes, potentially lowering food output and lowering living standards in developing countries. Third, sea level rise will be greater near the equator, causing more environmental changes and uncertainty in the developing world. If you accept the findings of this report it is clear that we need to start attacking climate change immediately. If we do not it will lead to massive migrations of populations away from coastal cities and to water abundant areas as parts of the globe dry up. This would lead to massive socio-economic and political unrest, potentially even war. This social darwinian prospect is not something that most find appetizing and can be avoided if proper steps are taken.

  5. Based on this executive summary, we're royally screwed.

    This paper brings global warming to the forefront of the development discussion and emphasizes the relevance of environmental factors to LDCs. Global warming tends to be viewed as a rich man's problem, with people like the Governator and Al Gore spending millions of dollars to bring this issue to the forefront of modern society. It's almost like a trending topic on Twitter, a fun fad that people pick up because it is the most immediate problem in society. Developing countries tend to have much greater immediate problems than global warming, or so the rhetoric usually reads. But this paper flips that idea on its head. Global warming should be considered the most immediate problem for developing countries because it impacts elements of economic growth such as agricultural output, industrial output, and political stability. It exacerbates already big problems such as nutritional deficits and epidemics.

    My interpretation of developed countries reaction to global warming is that their focus on preventing global warming is to protect the ice caps, keep ocean levels down, and ensure that winters are cold and summers are hot (but not too hot). Until this reading, I had never considered the impact of climate change on the economic growth of developing countries, and I imagine the same can be said for a lot of people. With this in mind, it becomes the responsibility of developing countries to turn concern over global climate change from a fad into action and policy and results. The issue is much bigger than a few degrees warmer weather. Adaptation is no longer a solution and long term solutions must be developed.

  6. This paper does an excellent job of addressing an issue that we brought up in class on Tuesday: it's unlikely that people are going to naturally change their behavior to prevent something unless they incur the direct costs caused by it. When asked straightforwardly about a distant problem most would not simply brush it off, but they also probably won’t go out of their way to fix it without some incentive. However, in this case it is EXTREMELY important that the people who won't necessarily be taking the brunt of the cost, i.e. the developed countries, take action to prevent this potential catastrophe of the 4 degree world. The executive summary is very clear that it is the poorer countries, the ones that are already struggling to develop and grow in the first place, that will be hit hardest by the climate changes. However, as we discussed in class, these are not the same countries that are significant contributors to the causes of the problem!

    What is even more frightening is that fact that while this paper provides a pretty detailed description of the potential effects of a rise in global temperatures, it also acknowledges that we don't really know how this will play out. Many of the predictions made could interact with each other in such a way that the negative results are compounded. And with the wide range of potential outcomes, that makes me particularly nervous. However, even though we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, one thing seems clear and that is that it’s not going to be good. This is the case with even the more conservative estimates, the ones where we uphold all pledges and commitments as they now stand. And, in the case of the most extreme estimates, these changes will be taking effect by 2060? That is (hopefully) within our lifetime!

  7. Though for quite some time, global warming was seen as a fallacy, science and even the naked eye has given us evidence that climate change is real. Developed countries are vulnerable just like less developed countries for damage and risk. No country is immune to the changes, whether directly or indirectly. The most alarming facts in this article were the changes that have already occurred in habitats and ecosystems due to the minute rises in temperature. I was aware somewhat of these happenings but definitely not the extent of the damage. The warming of 4 degrees will affect different regions of the world so drastically and differently. The risks to the human population should be enough for countries to take immediate action.

    Our food, water and health itself will suffer. The article points out that excessive flooding and droughts will deplete agricultural areas, water will become more polluted with flooding and new diseases will arise due to the changes in environments and lack of immunities in people to these different conditions. The hopeful part of this article is that while the world may be encroaching towards 4 degrees warmer, it is not there quite yet. We still have time and human resources to make a difference. What exactly is this solution? How can we combine the best of our ideas and implement them? Perhaps the answer is simply unity.

  8. This summary brings up some of the frightening possibilities of global climate change, especially for developing countries. Even since this report was published, extreme weather patterns such as Hurricane Sandy and continued drought in the interior US have shown us some of the costs even in a developed country like the United States. Despite these concrete examples, this still shows how difficult it is to get someone to sacrifice and change their habits today without a strong enough incentive, something we discussed during class on Tuesday. This also shows how much more difficult this is for global externalities. In this case, people in the developing world will be paying the greatest cost, but also have the lowest ability to adapt. It also touches on the impacts that global warming will have on developing countries ability to grow. It leaves out though what effects complying with CO2 reduction controls will have on growth. Developed countries have been able to reach their level of wealth partly thanks to cheap energy in the form of fossil fuels. That is a luxury that may not be available to developing countries in the future if the world gets serious about keeping warming under 2 degrees Celsius.

    The scariest part is that this article acknowledges how little we know about how the effects of climate change could build on each other and cause greater damage. It mentions that the drought in Russia caused a 25% crop failure, which is huge. If that were be common and happen all over the world, the effects on our food supply would be devastating. In the end though it will be difficult to address these issues until we find a way to quantify the costs and find a way to spread those equitably.

  9. It is clear that global warming is having and will continue to have a negative affect on all countries, but particularly in developing countries. This continuous warming of the atmosphere and the oceans have the potential to destroy the livelihoods of farmers in developing countries, since droughts, forest fires, and heat waves can decimate crops. In a developing country that lacks a strong central government and any welfare institutions, one bad harvest can destroy a community and result in civil strife and undernourishment. Furthermore, the executive summary recognizes the drastic consequences that could result due to increased damage to coral reefs: coral reefs protect the shore from storm surges and wave damage, and two-thirds of extreme flood exposure will be centered around ten major cities in developing countries. Agricultural devastation and flooding will contaminate food and water sources and strain already rationed supplies, potentially resulting in mass dehydration and starvation. Flooding also can cause disease, which adversely affects all forms of health, employment, and well-being. It’s clear that global warming causes issues that in turn cause each other, and as the warming process continues, these destructive causal relationships will only grow stronger and more deadly.

    It is disconcerting that the global community chooses to commit to policies to reduce projected warning from 4 to 2 degrees C, while developing countries will begin to suffer at 1.5 degrees C. This selfish coordination failure is demonstrative that developed countries should be more aware, dedicated, and in line with the needs of developing countries. Global warming is a global issue, and all countries should stand strong in compliance with policies that reflect the needs of the lowest common denominator. Cooperation is key to enacting these necessary initiatives.

  10. At this point in time, it is clear that global warming is occurring. Although there are scientific holdouts who assert that this warming is a naturally occurring part of the climate cycle, geologic evidence indicates that the current CO2 concentration is higher than at any time in the previous 15 million years. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, data indicates that warming is occurring, and increasing levels of CO2 will result in positive feedback which will increase the rate at which warming occurs. The World Bank report “Turn Down the Heat” discusses the implications of substantial global warming in a stark manner. However, there is no other manner in which to approach this issue. The implications of a substantial rise in global temperatures and CO2 levels are severe. Although global warming has made it to the stage of international politics, effective policy has yet to be implemented due to the extremely difficult nature of regulating global emissions. Unfortunately, the world’s highly developed countries who have the current means to enact ambitious policy will not be the global emissions leaders moving forward, and it is likely that the most severe impacts of warming will be felt in developing countries. It is critical for both citizens and politicians in developing countries to recognize the global need for the prevention of climate change. While the implementation of policy may be costly now, inaction has tremendous future implications.

  11. A four degree Celsius change would have enormous impacts on the environment. While some parts of the world would benefit from such an increase many tropical and coastal areas would be inflicted with economically fatal conditions. This article mentions that a two degree rise in temperature would significantly raise the level of malnutrition in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Coastal areas would see massive displacement as sea levels rise. While much of the environmental research is speculation the worst case scenarios offer risk too great to ignore. Unfortunately it may be too late to stop. Since 2000 there have been a number of record breaking meteorological events. The damage from these events has ranged from deaths to loss of agricultural output to tree mortality. While scientists can't predict the exact ramifications of a 4 degree warmer world it would probably be bad.

  12. The report, Turn Down the Heat, suggests we do just that. Well, sort of. The report suggests that we must avoid actions that will lead us closer to a 4˚C warmer world or we will face severe consequences across the entire globe. These severe consequences are heat waves, droughts, and floods. These consequences will be of extreme magnitude and will alter ecosystems. If current movements to improve the world’s environmental state are not carried through, there could be a 4˚C warmer world by 2060. This is scary and alarming to me because I will only be 68 years old.

    Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries have experienced the most warming thus far. The tropics are at risk for experiencing the worst conditions if this warmer world becomes a reality. They are facing large agriculture and ecosystem negative changes, higher sea level, increased cyclone intensity, and drought. According to this report, higher temperatures negatively impact economic growth in poor countries.

    However, not only will poor countries face negative impacts. With this warmed world, the United States along with the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East will experience 6˚C higher summer temperatures. These heat waves can cause death, forest firers, and harvest loss. This extreme weather change could lead to population displacement, and reduce economic and trade systems. The report suggests that the poor countries will face the most negative impacts and the developed world will become very fractured and further separated.

    This report is good because it shows what the future holds for the world. However, it lacks solutions. The last line, “Only early, cooperative, international actions can make [turning down the heat] happen.” But how are we going to get the entire would to cooperate and agree to uphold international standards? It seems impossible. The cost of following international standards would not be equal for everyone, because, for example, clearing forests could be someone’s only chance at a job yet it could be increasing our rate towards a 4˚C warmer world. It is scary that our daily actions could cause a huge reduction in food and water, yet we are not taking extreme measures to stop these extreme consequences. I guess it is easier to focus on the heat and now than the future, no matter what it holds.

  13. This World Bank Report is unequivocal in its stance that this is a man-made problem and requires corrective action on our part. It paints a picture of a world of extremes. Places that already experience floods will get larger ones more often, arid regions will become even drier, the poor will get poorer. From the language of this report, climate change, if severe enough, has the power to actually reverse human progress in many parts of the world.

    The cascade effect is particularly terrifying. It would seem to operate as a negative multiplier that magnifies adverse effects by disrupting vital infrastructure and linkages in production. The effects could be large enough to destroy beyond recovery many ecosystems, which are viewed in terms of the environmental services they provide. Of course, I believe these ecosystems hold an intrinsic value as well such that the thought of the Great Barrier Reef slowly dissolving seems tragic.

    Then there are the people. We talk about adapting, but when even the wealthiest nations will struggle to cope with a warming world, how will developing nations manage? The U.S. can build higher, stronger levies, but I doubt Southeast Asian nations can do the same on a scale adequate enough to protect their agricultural resources and vulnerable populations. The same goes for severe drought in water-strapped sub-Saharan Africa, which could just become Saharan Africa as the desert creeps south. Our only hope is that nations cooperate and commit to serious action against increased climate change before it is too late. Given that individuals will, in the aggregate, not reduce their energy consumption enough to effect climate change, it will probably take government mandates or strong incentives to truly change our dangerous behavior.

  14. Turn down the heat is a very enlightening but also terrifying article. Due to tropical temperatures, reliance on the environment, and lack of adaptive measures low developed countries will bare the brunt of climate change. For months we have studied micro-finance, better education, and investment in health care as means to develop low-income countries. These efforts have only so much impact if we do not address climate change.

    Unfortunately the people in high income countries, who contribute to the problem the most have the least incentive to fix the problem. It will not be the wealthier countries who initially feel the affects of coral reef elimination, water contamination, and droughts. This is because these higher developed countries have the infrastructure in place to adapt, at-least initially, to these climate changes. The fate of lower developed countries in the tropics and near the equator is in the hands of the high developed nations. Just two years ago a heat wave in Russia, that many attribute to climate change, cost their economy 15 billion dollars and led to nearly 50,000 deaths. As populations continue to grow this problem only becomes even more compounded. With estimations that the world is headed to 9 or 10 billion people in the coming years there must be some action to preserve the world.

    It is my opinion that the key to fighting climate change lies in the big governments regulations, more research and population control. It is too much to ask individual people to make decisions that help the environment when they don't directly feel the impact. It is not that people don't care, it is that they just don't know enough to act or have the incentive to do so. The people of the world need to be informed of the problem and what needs to be done to help. I have spent thousands of dollars on my education and this is the first i have read about the actual effects of greenhouse gases and the actual looming effects. What are the odds that people who have had less education are aware of all of these consequences that lie in the future? Hopefully with this better information people will be more supportive of legitimate government regulations, taxes, and programs that help our environment. Lastly, population control would be huge in the fight against the rising temperatures. A world with 9 or 10 billion people compounds the pollution problems and makes certain survival adaptive processes even more difficult. For example, will 9 or 10 billion people have access to healthcare when disease and contamination are more widespread? Will they be able to evacuate when water levels rise? And will 10 billion people have access to purified water, clean fish, and shelter from droughts when they hit their home? Something needs to be done, and it starts with the developed nations taking a stand.

  15. Global warming is not something new, in fact it's been going on basically since the end of the last ice age. The Earth has natural cooling and heating patterns, but post-industrial age temperatures show that humans seem to have put in fast-forward Earth's natural cycle. The heating that would typically take a millennia is now only taking a century, and where over a millennia species would have time to adapt, a century just isn't long enough and thus we are seeing the disastrous effects of it. This is a man-made problem as seen in "Turn Down the Heat", and the WorldBank clearly states that if we don't take charge to try and fix this, we are headed down a path with disastrous consequences. The first effects are of course seen on the environment and ecosystems if we cannot keep the increase in global temperatures below 2C. The heat will expand drought or severely increase rainfall. Both of which are not good for agriculture. This cause and effect then looks at how the effects on agriculture could then lead to increased malnutrition and/or food shortages. The loss of human life from this increase in temperature is inevitable. And as we have studied throughout this course, the environment does impact economic growth and development. A lot of third world countries depend on agriculture and livestock as their primary industries. But when animals are dying because they just weren't designed to live in that kind of heat, or when crops can't grow because of excessive drought, how is the country supposed to grow? But it's not these countries that can really do anything about the heat that is coming. Global warming by human hands started in the developed world, and the developed nations are the only ones that can really make a stand to change the course that our planet is on. No nation would be immune to a 4C world, so it is going to have to rely on the efforts of the developed world to make a stand. Not only in order to protect their best interests, but to also protect the world's poor who will be the most susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change.

  16. This article presented the scary but true facts about global warming and climate change that could potentially happen in our lifetime, and specifically outlined how developing and low income countries will be severely impacted. Climate change will have far reaching implications, affecting everything from ocean levels and coral reef life to rainfall, flooding, agriculture, malnutrition and health issues, and migration. Equally as important as action taken to keep these predictions from coming true is the countries that are choosing not to act.
    Though global warming impacts will be felt all over the world, the developing countries that are most at risk are often the ones who are unable to dedicate large amounts of money and resources to preventative issues. Developing countries are dealing with a variety of social, economic, and political factors that sometimes lead to climate policies being put on the back burner. Moreover, effective climate policy cannot be properly implemented in a developing country with no infrastructure and weak government. There is also a lack of education in many developing countries about global warming and climate change. This points to developed countries needing to step up and make active strides in slowing global warming. It is in the best interest of everyone to pay attention to and care about this issue. No one wants to live in a 4C world, with massive heat waves and inclement weather and food shortages. We often have a hard time prioritizing future issues over our many economic and social problems today, but if action is not taken soon on the global warming issue, our future is going to be drastically different.

  17. Our world is not capable of remaining at a sustainable rate if we alter its natural ecosystem with pollution and other environmental corruption mannerisms. The implications of global warming and the projected 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature are incalculable. A world of increasing climate will create a serious strain on many economic activities. We will experience forest lost, natural disasters, higher sea levels, droughts and other catastrophes. The economic impacts of this include, disruption of agriculture production, destruction of the oceanic ecology and it will revolutionize many traditional trades in areas that depend on this work for an income. It caused me the most concern to read “higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries and have wide-ranging effects, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and political stability.” If we had learned nothing else in this class, we all are well aware that there are hundreds of constraints on the poor that are struggling to achieve development. This world does not need one more factor prohibiting developing countries from growth. The solution to this problem however is ambiguous. Can policies be implemented to save the environment from further decline? If so, what are the economic and social implications of these regulations in terms of macroeconomic? Something must be done to control this spiraling disaster. As to suggestions, the research is currently inconclusive.

  18. This article treats a very pressing issue for the entire world: global climate change and its massive consequences. I think it is important that the article emphasizes the effect such climate change will have on developed countries as well as developing ones. Although this seems like a rather obvious fact, those in developed nations can sometimes still view climate change and its consequences as something foreign and far away from them-something that does not affect their daily lives. For many environmental issues, this seems to be the case. Their livelihood may not be directly threatened by actions such as deforestation in the way that someone’s is who lives by a rural Latin American rainforest. However, the climate change discussed in this article would certainly have direct effects on many people of developed nations that often feel somehow exempt from the effects in the present. In fact, even now climate change has already spread its effects widely. The 2012 drought in the United States, for example, affected about 80% of agricultural land. If a 4 degree C change is not stopped, no nation no matter how developed or wealthy will be able to stop many of the adverse effects that climate change will bring to it. That being said, as the article explains, some nations and regions of the world will be hit harder by climate change than others. It so happens that many of the world’s most impoverished nations will be some of the ones the most greatly affected. Such nations do not have the tools or institutions needed to adapt to and cope with such climate change. In this way, climate change could further inequality and exacerbate many global economic issues already present today.

  19. The article reminds me of the movie The Day after Tomorrow that I watched when I was back in elementary school. Now nearly ten years have passed and we are still on the same subject calling on the same initiatives to stop global warming. It makes me wonder how long the battle of fighting climate change would go on and when human beings would take effective actions collaboratively.

    The paper by the World Bank Group depicts how the world would be like when it’s 4-Celsius degree higher by the end of the century as scientists predict. First, it lays out the scientific research results on the consequences of 4 degrees rise in temperature from different natural focuses. The influence is much more severe to costal and developing areas. On the other hand, variation of natural ecosystems increases the vulnerability of socioeconomic systems, like trade and stock markets. So no single state would be able to escape from the influence. The last chapter about system interaction and non-linearity is what really warns me off, because risks of nonlinear and cascading impacts can easily destroy Amazon rain forest and most of the coral reefs.

    The goal of the report is to warn people and tell them that a 4-celsius degrees warmer world must be avoided. I think it does a exceptional job in its intention. But when it says controlling climate change to less than 2-celsius-degree increase is “technically and economically feasible”, I would like to see more material covered on the ways we can make it feasible.

  20. This report provides a sobering commentary on the severely damaging effect that climate change has had and will have on our world if temperature levels are not held well below 4 degrees Celsius within the next 100 years. The paper looks to highlight in particular the negative effect climate change will have on developing countries as they attempt to grow their infrastructure and economies. The simple fact however is that this climate change will drastically affect the lives of everyone living on this planet. The report identifies a number of different impacts that a climate change of over 4 degrees celsius will produce. These climate changes include rising of the global mean temperature, increasing ocean heat storage combined with rising sea levels, increasing loss of ice from iceland, greenland, and the arctic, Ocean acidification, heat waves, droughts, and extreme temperatures.

    These changes cause by climate change with have an innumerable amount of negative consequences for ecosystems throughout the world and particularly in tropical areas. Coral reefs in the ocean will be virtually destroyed as biodiversity severely decreases. Agriculture will take massive hits as heat waves and floods destroy crops and limit food production. As these negative consequences come to fruition the detrimental effects of poverty will be amplified as their situations are worsened by global climate change. This will create even more divisions among the wealthy and poor in the world as those with power will most likely seek to provide for their own safety in the context of a world in crisis.

    Our world leaders must take a serious look at the facts of our contribution to increasing greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. They must put political pressure aside and recognize the fact that if we do not change our selfish ways soon then we will be in serious trouble within the next 100 years. The lack of foresight among some leaders today is astonishing as they often put immediate needs or political concern ahead of our long term security. The blame can not simply be placed on our leaders however as they are often responding to the needs and wants of the people. We must as a people recognize that a sustainable future will not be attainable unless we make some changes in the way we run our society and live on a day to day basis. The type of literature provided here by the World Bank should be read and internalized by all members of society.

  21. Despite such forecasts of significant increases in global mean temperatures, there has not been sufficient legislation to combat global warming. I believe this is because (although a slight misnomer), global warming is essentially a silent killer: we will experience its fatal ramifications only when its too late. Even individuals who live in coastal regions, such as myself), have a difficult time to seeing any pronounced physical changes. As a result, many in charge of formulating and passing environmental policies (Congress, Executive) may have a difficult time to dedicating both time and effort to changes that they only read about.

    This is an unfortunately situation; while changes may be minimal in the US and other developed nations, global warming will most likely affect Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing nations. As the article states, these countries lack the "economic, institutional, scientific and technological capacity" to cope and adapt to such changes. Additionally, the article cites a study that adds that "higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth…reducing agricultural output and political stability". Thus, perhaps showing photos and accounts of the damage to these poor nations to Congress might invoke enough sympathy to foster change.

  22. This article offers a compelling sequence of evidence about the impacts of severe climate change, a detriment that no region would be unaffected by. It also presents valuable material to respond to those who see climate change as an intangible and inevitable future. Most previous reports on the subject that I have seen focus on the effects of what a rise of about two degrees would have on the developing world in particular, but this paper shows that the impending rise may even be more severe than expected. Most concerning is the fact that "Even with the current mitigation commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20 percent likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not
    met, a warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s." The international community's record on matching commitments related to climate change is wanting at best, so the fact that these most severe changes and impacts could begin as soon as fifty years from now, well in our lifetime, must be taken into account more by policy makers.

    Tragically, the developing world seems poised to bear the most severe of the impacts — decreasing water resources in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, rising sea levels for lower lying island and coastal countries like Bangladesh, serious implications on human security and populations where their current living conditions pose enough of a challenge for them.

    About a year and a half ago, National Geographic ran an article that illustrated the personal costs of global warming on the people of Bangladesh that put a very human face on the issue outlined in this World Bank report. Within the photo gallery that complimented the article was a photograph of a tin roof with no building other than about a dozen pairs of legs. The villagers who owned the structure were moving it to higher ground, and the building itself looked like it had suddenly sprouted limbs. If the projections outlined by this report do come about, scenes like this will become both more common and more rare. They will be more common in places that never expected to feel such serious impacts, but they will be more rare in coastal areas where rising ocean levels left no place to move to.

    (photo is about two thirds of the way through the galler at this link:

  23. This paper focuses on a range of risks that global warming poses with disproportionate adverse effects on developing countries and the poor. Severe impacts on ecosystems from heat waves, droughts, floods, and rising sea levels create serious threats to further development in these countries and the impoverished. Although climate change’s impacts will unequally be skewed toward the world’s poorest regions, every nation will be adversely affected. Countries will face unstable agricultural and industrial output and political instability. Heat waves will cause wild fires, crop losses, and related death, especially in areas that have the lowest capacity to internalize and adapt economic, institutional, scientific, and technical innovations. Flooding will expose clean water supplies with contaminants, which will degrade water quality and will aggravate malnutrition. These communities will be disrupted and dislocated.
    With today’s research one can determine that over the last century sea levels rose by about 20 centimeters partly from carbon dioxide acidification of the world’s oceans. Acidification poses consequences for marine ecosystems and organisms, in particular coral reefs in many areas are likely to dissolve, which will deeply hurt species that depend on coral reef ecosystems, as well as burdening people who rely on coral reefs for tourism, food, income, and shoreline fortification. These ecosystem problems will directly correlate with decreasing economic and trade systems through gaps in infrastructure, which will impact human livelihood across the globe, hindering global GDP.
    This article was very clear at explaining the adverse effects of climate change over the next century and beyond. While I learned a lot of very good information, I believe the author is mistakenly leaving no choice for the international community but to insist that governments must intervene, which is consistent with others’ positions on global warming. While the author notes that the private market and individual citizens will also play a role in changing their behaviors, I wonder what the literature says about how to privatize climate change, essentially giving a free market solution without government aggression and central planning mismanagement.

  24. This paper produced by the World Bank aims to educate the world about why a 4 ° C warmer world would create major consequences for every country on the planet. Specific to Economic Development, global warming threatens economic growth initiatives and goals to reduce poverty. Although global warming will affect all countries, the majority of the impacts will be felt in the developing countries, especially those around the tropics. The key point to this article explains that, “the level of impacts that developing countries and the rest of the world experience will be a result of government, private sector and civil society decisions and choices, including, unfortunately, inaction” (xiv). The problem of global warming is so widespread that in order to avoid a 4 ° C warmer world, the entire world (mostly the major countries such as the US, China, India, Russia, and Brazil) must all decide to make decisions to prevent the negative impacts.

    The consequences of global warming fall mainly into four categories: temperature extremes, water quality and quantity, sea level rising, and changing ocean chemistry. Temperature extremes may lead to crop failures and droughts, slowing development and economic growth. Also, temperature extremes along with water quality issues will lead to health problems. Heat-related deaths may occur and in fighting diseases, people lose the opportunity to save money; thus reducing their future access to investing in capital.

    From my studies in Belize last May, we looked at the benefits of coral reefs and how global warming will affect them. Reefs provide protection, tourism opportunities, and breeding grounds for fish. Global warming effects are already beginning to be seen in coral reef systems around the world. The island where we stayed in Belize will be covered in water in 20 years if global warming’s effects and human pressures continue at the current rate. Ocean acidification, overfishing, the rising sea level, and other elements are working to destroy coral reef systems. In order to slow down these problems, the world must create solutions together.

  25. Obviously I have heard a lot about the problem of climate change and the profound ways in which it threatens our existence. However, I have never until this class considered how much larger the ramifications are for developing countries in the tropics than they are for developed countries. What's more, developed countries are responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions. So there is a disconnect between the actors and the recipients of the most dire consequences, as is often the case. It saddens me to think that the cities likely to be most affected by sea-level rises are all already struggling with extreme cases of poverty.

    Furthermore, the prospect of losing so much of the world's biodiversity as climate change occurs also deeply saddens me. Man-made machines pale in comparison to the wonders of the natural world, and there is lots we could continue to learn by observing the behavior and structures of organisms.

    Another terrifying prospect is the potential spread of malaria. As we read in Sach's paper on malaria earlier, it is relatively easy to stop the spread of malaria in temperate zones. But, if the global temperature were to rise and increase the size of the tropical zones, I fear that the potential spread of this already economically debilitating disease would grow to become significantly worse for the global economy.

    After reading this executive summary, it saddens me to think how diminished this issue has become on a national level in America. How politicians can get elected without addressing climate change is beyond me.