The World Bank is warning that developmental efforts for poorer nations are doomed to failure unless industrial nations take responsibility for causing global warming. And that can be accomplished with a massive increase in funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. The Bank’s annual World Development Report warns that even if the best-case scenario should come to pass, and G20 nations successfully keep global temperatures from rising by 2°C, changing weather patterns will still dramatically decrease the GDP in many African and Asian nations, and poverty will be entrenched for generations. World Bank President Robert Zoellick all but agreed with eme rging economies that rich nations bear all the historical responsibility for global warming.

“Developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change — a crisis that is not of their making and for which they are the least prepared,” he said. The report recommends that by 2030 rich nations will need to invest $400,000,000,000 a year to help developing nations cut emissions through the adoption of new low carbon technologies and $75,000,000,000 a year to help them adapt to the impact of climate change, in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars of R&D investment that will be required to develop cost-effective clean technologies. The scale of the sums involved are an order of magnitude higher than those currently being considered by many rich nations. Earlier this week, one EU official was quoted as saying that $22,000,000,000 might be made available annually.

Justin Lin, World Bank Chief Economist, says that delay isn’t an option. “Developing countries, which have historically contributed little to global warming, are now, ironically, faced with 75% to 80% of the potential damage from it. They need help to cope with climate change, as they are preoccupied with existing challenges such as reducing poverty and hunger and providing access to energy and water”, Lin said. (Source: World Bank, Business Green, September 15, 2009)

Contact: Merrell Tuck, Media, World Bank, (202) 473-9516 mtuckprimdahl@worldbank.org, worldbank.org