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Turn down the heat: climate extremes, regional impacts, and the case for resilience

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Focusing on the risk of climate change on development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and South Asia, this World Bank report provides a scientific analysis of the likely impacts on agriculture, water resources and coastal vulnerability that will be felt under various warming scenarios up to an increase of 4°C. It begins by outlining the global picture, suggesting that the latest research points to a 40% chance of a 4°C rise in temperatures by 2100. The three regions are then analysed in depth, with a regional summary, sector-specific breakdown and likely impacts on ecosystems and humans provided for each. Among the key findings of the report are: heat extremes will increase in both severity and frequency. South East Asia is expected to see substantial increases in heat extremes in the near term. Both a 2°C and 4°C rise would have significant adverse effects on humans and ecosystems population growth is already putting pressure on water resources; disruptions to monsoon systems and rising temperatures will exacerbate this. Water availability could decline by up to 50% in some regions under 4°C warming rising temperatures risk reductions in crop yields, threatening food security as observed temperature thresholds for key crops are passed. All regions can expect this to have strong repercussions on economic growth and poverty reduction ecosystem shifts and species extinction are likely by 2030. By 2070, a 2.1-2.7°C rise would see all of Africa’s eco-regions at risk sea-Level rise of 50cm by 2050 may now be unavoidable; a 4°C rise in temperatures would result in a sea-level rise of up to 100cm. The sea-level near the equator is projected to be 10-15% higher than the global mean; coupled with tropical cyclones this represents a significant risk, particularly to Southeast Asia warming and ocean acidification are projected to cause major damage to coral reef systems and a loss of fish production. By the end of the century, oceans may be 150 times more acidic than pre-industrial revolution (a level not seen for over 20 million years) The report finishes with a look at projections of sectoral and inter-sectoral impacts and risks, specifically water-availability, ecosystem shifts, and the threat of non-linear and cascading impacts.