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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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World Bank Leader Says Climate Change is a Fundamental Threat, Urges Action in Asia

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

(Photo : Reuters ) World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says climate change is a "fundamental threat" to development.

Climate change is a "fundamental threat" to development and that global nations should act fast, World Bank leader Jim Yong Kim said at the Nobel Laureates Symposium on Global Sustainability held in Hong Kong on Thursday.

"This is the year when the international community can and must find ways to finance climate change interventions and development," Kim said in a video address at this year's symposium hosted by Asia Society Hong Kong Center and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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Kim stressed Asia's need to create finance policies that support sustainable development because its mega-cities are vulnerable.

For instance, the Potsdam Institute predicts in its study that Bangkok will experience strong storms and a six-inch rise in sea level by the 2030s, Kim said.

The World Bank is currently working with China, now the leading carbon emitter after the United States, in creating policies for sustainable development. It's also working with other Asian governments in identifying pro-environment policies.

Kim recommends building "smart cities" that are highly energy-efficient in addition to using alternative energy and investing in rapid transit systems.

He issued the same message to a conference in Washington, D.C. in December. In the address, he linked poverty to the negative effects of climate change and urged nations to stop funding projects that use fossil fuels.

Other leaders and experts chimed in to campaign for awareness on the issue.

Ryoji Noyori, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, said Japan's many coastal cities are susceptible to great floods and other disasters as a result of its government doing little about the issue.

The Potsdam Institute's Peter Doherty urged leaders in power to take scientists' firm analysis on climate change effects seriously and prevent climate change from doing further damage on the planet.

In contrast, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying said taking on climate change is "easier said than done."

"But I am pleased to say that we are on track to achieving it," he said at the conference's opening remarks.

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