An Overview of the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal

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The World Bank Group is the world’s largest multilateral funder of climate resilience projects in developing countries. Over the past five years, the World Bank Group has delivered over $83 billion in climate financing to 72 countries. It works directly with national governments to help them achieve the twin goals of poverty reduction and climate mitigation.

The World Bank Group estimates that 132 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2030 if climate challenges are not addressed. Recognizing this, the Group has implemented climate adaptation projects to protect vulnerable communities from extreme weather events as well as climate mitigation initiatives to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Group has also built a Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP) that hosts climate-related data and tools for policymakers, development professionals, and interested parties to utilize in project planning and design. Available for free on the internet, the comprehensive data packages can be downloaded by anyone.

In this article, we explain what information the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal provides and how to navigate it with ease. 

Key takeaways

  • The World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal is a “one-stop shop” for climate-related information on the socio-economic, environmental, and disaster risk contexts of individual countries and regions.
  • It’s designed mainly for development practitioners and policymakers who need climate data to design climate mitigation and adaptation projects, though anyone can use the CCKP for free to make everyday decisions.
  • The CCKP contains three major categories: country, region, and watershed. Users can view detailed climate datasets at these different levels.

The World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal, explained

The World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal is one of the most comprehensive online databases currently available on climate data. Boasting detailed information on the historical and future climate conditions of 195 countries, the CCKP serves as a “one-stop shop” for data and tools related to climate change and development. 

The CCKP contains datasets on the socio-economic, environmental, and disaster risk contexts of individual countries and regions. 

The datasets display everything from the water supply of a selected region in a country to its agroecosystem conditions, which include precipitation levels and extreme hot and cold temperatures. Users can select climate change indices that are most relevant to them and compare the data side-by-side.

Data on the portal is visualised using a map-based interface powered by MapBox and OpenStreetMap. Upon choosing a country or a region, users are presented with a socio-economic analysis of the chosen area complete with graphs displaying climate data such as rainfall patterns, future predictions of temperature, and drought conditions. 

The data is sourced from global climate institutions which include the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).

Although designed with development practitioners and policymakers in mind, the CCKP is available to anyone who wants to assess and evaluate historical and future climate impacts.

How to navigate it 

Navigating the CCKP website is easy. 

On the main webpage, users are presented with an overview of the CCKP and a quick guide on how to use the portal. At the top of the webpage, users will find a navigation panel with links that will take them to the country, region, or watershed interactive maps. There are also quick access links to the ‘download data’, ‘country profiles’, or ‘agricultural profiles’ pages.

Clicking the country, region, or watershed links will take you to an interactive map or list that allows you to select the area that you want to study. Each country or region contains a detailed climate risk and socio-economic profile. Users can read a historical analysis of the climate conditions of the area between 1901 and 2020. Users can also find reports on the projected climate conditions for the area between 2020 and 2099. 

Each country profile also contains the following data that is presented as graphs and reports: climate characteristics and projections, exposure to natural hazards, national vulnerability context, climate impacts on key economic sectors, adaptation policies, and strategies. 

Major categories

The World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal is divided into the following categories: country, region, and watershed. Users can choose to view climate information at the national or regional level. 

Country

The country category allows users to compare climate datasets at the national level. Within this category, users can explore sector-related climate indices that are grouped by water, energy, agriculture, and health. Users can also analyze the current and potential natural hazards threatening the country under the ‘vulnerability’ tab. 

Region

The region category provides climate overviews of different regions of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. Unlike the country category which contains detailed climate data, the region category only displays historical and projected climate analyses for the selected region.

Watershed

Watersheds are areas of land where rainfall runoff is collected and drained to a common outlet. Similar to the region category, the watershed category only shows historical and projected climate information for different watersheds. Users can view the temperature and precipitation of each watershed by time periods of 30 years, from 1901 to 2020.

5 major takeaways from the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal 

The World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal is a rich resource of climate-related information that can be used in the planning of climate mitigation and adaptation projects. Here are 5 major takeaways from the CCKP.

The United States is most at risk of storms and poor food production (100)

Data compiled on the CCKP indicates that the United States has experienced an average of 627 storm events annually between 1900 and 2018. Storms are the most frequent extreme weather event to hit the U.S., totaling 67% of all weather events. It’s expected that storms will increase in frequency, accompanied by a 48.90mm rise in annual precipitation, over the next few decades. 

In addition to storms, the data suggests that the U.S. will experience crop failures in the near future due to global climate change and extreme weather events. Rainfall extremes and droughts may increase the incidence of pest infestations and reduce the nutrient content of soils. 

Canada is taking aggressive measures to tackle carbon pollution 

As part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement, Canada made a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2017 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. It is doing so by gradually increasing the price of every tonne of carbon emitted to $50 by 2022. 

The Government of Canada hopes that pricing carbon pollution will help the country reduce its carbon footprint while also growing its economy. Canadians will be encouraged to choose cleaner energy alternatives. 

South Asia has experienced and will likely continue to experience frequent heatwaves and heavy rainfall events 

Historical data on the CCKP points to an increase in the frequency of heatwaves across South Asia. The heatwaves are caused by both an increase in average global temperatures as well as urban heat island effects. If carbon emissions are left unresolved, temperatures in South Asia could increase between 1.5 and 3 degrees celsius by 2050 compared to the period between 1981 to 2010.

South Asia is also projected to experience more heavy precipitation events. Tropical cyclones and stronger monsoon seasons may bring more floods to both inland and coastal regions, which could put at least 15 million people at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods. 

China is highly vulnerable to climatic hazards 

The world’s second-largest economy may have experienced exponential growth in recent decades but that doesn’t mean it’s protected from extreme weather events. Data collected by the World Bank Group suggests that China lost an average of $76 billion per year to natural hazards. More than that, around one-third of China’s agricultural land was affected by landslides, droughts, and floods. 

And it’s not just China’s rural areas that are vulnerable to climate change. Rapid urban growth in China took place with little planning for future climate hazards. The Government of China has recently acknowledged these shortcomings, making commitments in 2016 to shore up its transition to resilient and low-carbon economies in both rural and urban areas.

The African continent is projected to experience drier conditions by the end of the century 

Droughts, reduced rainfall, and warm nights are expected to become more frequent in Africa over the coming decades. By 2100, climate models predict that 75 percent of summer months could be substantially hotter than the global average. Rising temperatures may make land in subtropical southern Africa arider, posing risks to farmers and cattle herders who rely on the land for their livelihoods.

The hotter conditions are part of a continuing trend of warm spells over southern and western Africa since 1960.

How can we use this knowledge in our everyday lives? 

The knowledge that’s available on the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal can be used in a variety of ways, from developing business strategies to preparing our families for upcoming weather events.

The CCKP allows us to explore climate data at the national and subnational levels, meaning we can see projections for rainfall, temperature, and natural hazards in the areas where we live and work. A better understanding of how the climate is changing can help us find places to live where extreme weather events won’t affect us much.

Increased climate knowledge can also help us make better-informed business decisions. Knowledge of rainfall patterns can help us develop sustainable logistics networks while an understanding of rising temperatures can help us look for cleaner, cost-effective energy sources.

At the community level, data from the CCKP can help us work with local authorities and other community members to develop carbon emission reduction policies. We can also use the information to work with lawmakers to develop climate adaptation practices such as coastal barriers and wildfire monitoring and alert systems.

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