Global warming to affect Bangladesh most: WB Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com http://bdnews24.com/environment/2013/06/19 A new World Bank report says Bangladesh will be among ‘the most affected’ countries in South Asia by the global warming with an expected 2°C rise in the world’s average temperatures in the next decades. It says the warming climate will lead to sea levels rise and more extreme heat and more intense cyclones, threatening food production, livelihoods, and infrastructure as well as slowing the poverty reduction. The report marked Bangladesh as one of more “potential impact hotspots” threatened by “extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and very high temperatures”. Cyclone Sidr had exposed 3.45 million households to inundation. The report says a potential return of similar cyclone in 2050 could expose 9.7 million people to more than 3 meters of inundation affecting agriculture and lives. The report warns that even 20 to 30 years from now, shifting rain patterns could leave some areas under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation or drinking. South Asia is already experiencing a warming climate. “Bangladesh faces particularly severe challenges with climate change threatening its impressive progress in overcoming poverty,” the World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Johannes Zutt was quoted as saying in a media release. He, however, said Bangladesh had demonstrated itself as “a leader in moving the climate change agenda forward”. The report concluded that the world would warm by 4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if countries did not take concerted action now. The global lender says this new report looks at the likely impacts of present day (0.8°C), 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South East Asia. The report, prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and peer-reviewed by 90 scientists worldwide, says the consequences of a warming climate on South Asia are even worse if global temperatures increased by an average of 4°C by 2090. It says unless action is taken now to limit carbon release in the atmosphere, South Asia would face more extreme droughts and floods, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and declines in food production. For instance, it says, flood areas could increase by as much as 29 percent for a 2.5 ° C warming in Bangladesh. A warming climate will also slow down the poverty reduction. While the lives of everyone in the region will be altered by climate change, the impacts of progressive global warming will fall hardest on the poor. Low crop yields and associated income loss from agriculture will continue the migration from rural to urban centres. The report says in the southern region of Bangladesh, 40 percent of productive land could be lost due to a 65cm sea-level rise by the 2080s. About 20 million people in the coastal areas of Bangladesh are already affected by salinity in drinking water. Rising sea levels and more intense cyclones and storm surges could intensify the contamination of groundwater and surface water causing more diarrhoea outbreaks. "In the South Asia region, it is urgent to do prevention work, some of which is already happening,” World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region Isabel Guerrero said. “…Bangladesh is at the fore front; we have projects and a large multi-donor fund that works on having early warning systems for floods and embankments when there are floods to protect crops and fields and to prevent destruction of the urban infrastructure”.