World Bank releases report on development, climate change

"High-income countries also need to act quickly to reduce their carbon footprints and boost development of alternative energy sources to help tackle the problem of climate change," said the World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change.

The report was released here ahead of the UN meeting on climate change in Copenhagen in December, WAM news agency reported.
The report urged the developed countries to act now to mitigate the problem of climate change. If developed countries act now, a “climate-smart” world is feasible, it said.

"The countries of the world must act now, act together and act differently on climate change," said World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick.

"Developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change - a crisis that is not of their making and for which they are the least prepared. For that reason, an equitable deal in Copenhagen is vitally important,” he stressed.
Some 1.6 billion people in the developing world lack access to electricity. The per capita emissions in these countries are a fraction compared to the developed countries and need huge expansions in energy, transport and agricultural production, among others.

Increasing access to energy and other services using high-carbon technologies will produce more greenhouse gases, hence more climate change.
The report finds, however, that existing low-carbon technologies and best practices could reduce energy consumption significantly, saving money.
The report notes it is possible to cut energy consumption in industry and power sector by 20-30 percent, helping reduce carbon footprints without sacrificing growth.

In addition, many changes to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases also deliver significant benefits in environmental sustainability, public health, energy security and financial savings.

Preventing deforestation, for instance, preserves watersheds and protects biodiversity, while forests can effectively serve as a carbon sink.
Poor countries will need help in adapting to the changing climate. Climate finance must be greatly expanded, since current funding levels fall far short of foreseeable needs.

Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), managed by the World Bank and implemented jointly with regional developing banks, offer one opportunity for leveraging support from advanced countries, since these funds can buy-down the costs of low-carbon technologies in developing countries.

"Developing countries face 75-80 percent of the potential damage from climate change. They urgently need help to prepare for drought, floods, and rising sea levels,” said Justin Lin, the bank's chief economist.

The earth's warming climate is making the challenge of development more complicated, even as one in four people still live on less than $1.25 a day, and over a billion people do not have sufficient food to meet their daily basic nutritional needs.

"But promising new energy technologies can vastly reduce future greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic climate change. We also need to manage our farms, forests, and water resources to ensure a sustainable future," said Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment.

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