Climate change is an abstract phenomenon until you consider specific people and places. Then the consequences of rising oceans and extreme heat become all too scary. This graphic from the World Bank looks at Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and South Asia, and you can see the various impacts below.
The graphic accompanies the Bank’s new "Turn Down The Heat" report, which scopes out what happens once we meet certain warming thresholds. For example, a 2 degree Celsius temperature increase (above pre-industrial levels) leads to 70 centimeters of sea level rise; a 4 degree increase leads to 100 centimeters. A 2 degree increase also means a 20% decline in water availability, while 4 degrees equates to a 50% decrease. And so on. The Bank argues that climate change threatens to reverse "hard-won development gains," effectively returning the poorest to the dark old days.
Here’s where the damage will be the worst:
The report predicts a 25% loss of grazing land even based on today greenhouse gas emissions (a temperature increase of 0.8%).
At 2 degrees, the Bank says 60% to 70% of South East Asia will experience "unusual summer heat extremes."
The Bank says a 2 degree rise would leave a third of the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) under 25 centimeters of water.
As it previously said, the Bank expects a 4-degree temperature rise by 2100 without "concerted action." But it says a "modest" 2 degrees is achievable. That’s still likely to lead to a host of problems--as the graphic makes clear--but it’s a lot better than the nightmare scenario.