World Bank and climate change

According to media reports, last month the new President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, spent 7 of his 10 minutes speech at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos warning business executives about the impending catastrophe of climate change. This comes on the back of President Obama promising in his inauguration on 21st January that “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
Image: World Bank

In the Washington Post, Kim paints a bleak picture of a 4°C world with failing food production, extreme weather and flooded out coastal areas. Kim alludes to the initial aim of the Bretton Woods Institutions being established to avoid a third world war. He says that the world now needs “a bold global approach to help avoid the climate catastrophe it faces today”.

Many agencies and governments already have climate at the heart of their policy making. However, the Bank’s words provide welcome support to scientists and advocates for climate action. They will also help influence “late adopters” of climate policies and reduce the credibility further of climate deniers.

In the Aid for Trade (A4T) business, climate and biodiversity loss issues still sit at the margins of programming and discussions. The issue did not make it onto the agenda of a recent OECD meeting review of A4T. As a first step, it will be useful to look at how climate can be “mainstreamed” into Aid for Trade. Jargon alert! “Mainstreaming” here means assessing how climate change can be integrated into the design and implementation of A4T programming – and how it can be strengthened so that A4T delivery is “climate proofed” but also addresses key trade-related climate issues, like for example threats to infrastructure and productive capacity, particularly in agriculture.

The Global Review of A4T at the WTO in July can be an opportunity for beneficiary countries and donors to discuss this aspect of A4T delivery.

Links this week on climate

1. What we tell our children about climate change from Jo Romm on Climate Progress:

He hopes that he can say: “I did everything I could…I did my darndest…” but fears that society in the 2030s will look at the catastrophe unfolding around them (4 ft. sea rises, dustbowls over agricultural areas) and say that we could have done more, earlier on, to stop climate change.

2. IFPRI says that food production will be hit by up to 20% in Asia and the Pacific by 2050.

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