While global warming and climate changes affect people and the natural environment everywhere, the World Bank Group believes that developing countries are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than rich countries. Furthermore, poor people within developing countries are disproportionately and most at risk from the increased impacts of volatility in weather patterns (i.e., floods and droughts), as well as being the least able to adapt to these changing circumstances.
Human-induced climate change will have a negative impact on agricultural productivity throughout the world’s tropical and sub-tropical areas, where agriculture accounts for the major part of GDP in many countries. Climate change will also decrease water supply in most arid and semi-arid regions, increase the incidence of malaria, dengue, and other vector borne diseases in the tropics and sub-tropics, and harm ecological systems and their biodiversity. In addition, the rise in sea levels associated with increases in temperature could displace tens of millions of people in low-lying areas, such as the Ganges and the Nile deltas, and threaten the existence of small islands states.
For the World Bank Group climate change is more than an environmental issue: for developing countries, it is a critical development issue with significant financial and social impacts. Given that climate change can undo in a few years what development has achieved over fifty, it is clear that the hard-earned gains of development need to be protected.
At the same time, the right responses to both mitigating the impact of climate change and adapting to its already inevitable consequences are opportunities for developing countries to: enhance energy security; improve the local environment; promote more sustainable land use and agricultural practices; increase resilience to natural disasters; bring carbon market revenues; and facilitate the availability and use of clean technology.