Poorest hit hardest by climate change, must act now: World Bank

Other News Materials 28 February 2008 04:44 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- The world's poorest countries will be hit hardest by climate change and must begin adapting immediately to prevent some of its worst consequences, the World Bank warned in an annual environment review Wednesday.

But the World Bank also said tackling global warming could provide opportunities for long-term economic progress in developing countries by improving efficiency, coastal protection and agricultural production methods.

The Environment Matters review - an annual series of articles and case studies of environmental impacts on the world's regions - said that development and global warming are inextricably linked and urged industrial nations to contribute more aid to the poorest regions of the globe to help them adapt.

"We can't let climate change turn back the clock of progress for these countries," Warren Evans, the World Bank's director of environment, said in a statement.

The global lender plans to issue an action plan on tackling climate change and financing adaptation measures at an annual joint meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in October.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - a collection of the world's top scientists - last year warned in a series of reports that global warming was now unequivocal and had potentially devastating impacts if left unchecked, including longer droughts, stronger storms, the destruction of low-lying areas as sea levels rise and the extinction of thousands of species.