President of World Bank addresses need to combat climate change—and GU Fossil Free agrees

This past Wednesday, President of the World Bank Dr. Jim Yong Kim gave a lecture as part of the Global Futures Initiative about the need to combat climate change amidst a globalizing world.

Kim began his talk by laying out two important focuses for the World Bank. The first being to end extreme poverty by 2030, and the second to promote shared prosperity by improving the living standards of the poorest 40 percent.

He made it very clear that these goals cannot be met unless the World Bank and other organizations and governments begin to recognize the importance of the climate and sustainable development.

“97 percent of scientists agree that the climate is warming,” Kim said. He went on to explain other evidence of climate change, such as increasing temperature levels, rising sea levels, and recent extreme flooding and droughts. As Kim said, “climate change is something we must tackle…it is also critically a development issue.”

For the World Bank, according to Kim, combating climate change is vitally important for protecting poor and vulnerable countries that are often the most severely affected by natural disasters.

“Poor countries around the world are not ready for these disasters,” Kim forewarned in his talk. In order to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, he said, developers need to make the right choices now.

The World Bank has begun to incorporate environmentally friendly strategies into their development goals, such as using low carbon-emitting energy sources, building smart cities, and developing clean transportation. Transportation is especially important considering it makes up 14 percent of all carbon gas emissions.

Kim highlighted the different climate challenges the regions of the world face, in regards to famine and extreme heat in Africa, low fish catches and biodiversity loss in Latin America, and sinking islands in South East Asia.

The World Bank has proposed five steps to address these issues: putting a price on carbon, removing fossil fuel subsidies, increasing the use of renewable energy, building low carbon cities, and developing smart agriculture.

He ended the lecture on a positive note. “We’re trying to build climate change into everything we do,” Kim said. “No matter what you end up doing…you can have an impact on this issue.”

At the end of Kim’s talk, three members of GU Fossil Free went up on stage carrying a sign that had a quote from Kim himself that read: “Corporate leaders should not wait to act until market signals are right and national investment policies are in place. Georgetown divest now.” They were then escorted off stage by the Georgetown University Police Department.

In an interview with Fossil Free member Chloe Lazarus , one of the three on stage during the speech, she explained that the goal of their demonstration “was to urge Georgetown to listen to the important conversations being had about climate change and to live up to its title as a leader by following its Jesuit values and divesting from an unjust energy sector”.

Lazarus believes this action was successful, and the group has received a lot of positive feedback from audience members. “We have been applauded in not letting our voices be silenced and standing up against injustices from which Georgetown continues to profit,” she told Vox.

Photo: Carley Tucker/The Georgetown Voice

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