Climate change is undermining economic development in poor countries and pushing millions people back into poverty, the World Bank has warned.
The droughts, floods, heatwaves, sea-level rises and storms that are likely to accompany unabated global warming will trap millions of people in poverty, the Washington-based bank said in a report.
"Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate change and weather extremes," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.
Already by the 2030s, 40 percent of the land used to grow maize in sub-Saharan Africa will be unable to sustain that crop because of droughts and heat, the report said. Also by that time, sea level rise coupled with more intense cyclones could inundate much of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, it said.
Among the first consequences of rising temperatures are food shortages, which will occur within just two decades, along with storm damage to cities and migration as people try to escape the effects.
Good on the World Bank for being clear that climate change is not a future problem that can be put off. We need action now.
Photo: Partially-submerged homes in the flooded province of Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, on October 16, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)