The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday asked Monday for a hearing on a World Bank report that details the potential impacts of climate change this century. The report, "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided," outlines what the world would be like with warming of 4 degrees Celsius before the end of the century.
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bobby Rush, D-ill., sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Whitfield requesting the hearing. In their letter, they called the report an "alarming and sobering" one "from an organization not known for its environmental activism."
"As we develop our energy agenda for the next Congress, members of the Committee should have the opportunity to examine the latest information about climate change and the very serious global consequences of inaction," the Democrats wrote.
The World Bank report, written by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, offers a grim assessment. "It is my hope that this report shocks us into action," Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank Group writes in its opening pages. "Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency."
The report warns that without further commitments and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world is likely to warm by more than 3°C. If current pledges to meet greenhouse gas reductions aren't met, a warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s. Such a warming level would be associated with a sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 meter or more, a rise the report warns will have a disproportionate effect on many of the world’s poorest regions.