Is the world running out of time?

To make matters worse, in 2011 poorer developing countries have been hit much harder by climate change, according to the new edition of the Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index. The ranking, which was also presented in Doha, concludes that Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan and El Salvador are on top of those countries that suffered most from extreme weather events in 2011. According to Germanwatch, “Recent science results also tell us that climate change is an increasing factor in the occurrence of very heavy events. In Doha, we need serious progress in the negotiations on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, on increasing support for adaptation, and the kick-off for the development of an international mechanism to address loss and damage”. It looks like Pakistan is going to be one of the most vulnerable countries in the world — in 2010 it ranked as No. 1 on the Global Climate Risk Index and in 2011 it ranked No. 3. Without serious cuts in emissions, which seem unlikely from the goings on in Doha so far, it looks like the world is all set to get warmer. The World Bank also recently issued their report entitled “Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided”, which spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4°C (which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes). The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

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