Four degrees too far

The British government has stepped up its pre-Copenhagen campaign for a global emissions deal, yesterday releasing this interactive map of what a 4ºC temperature increase would mean for the world. Click on the map to explore the impacts listed across the bottom. A larger (full page) version is available here, and background here and here. At the launch in the Science Museum in London, Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary emphasised the urgency:

“Britain’s scientists have helped to illustrate the catastrophic effects that will result if the world fails to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees. With less than 50 days left before agreement must be reached, the UK’s going all out to persuade the world of the need to raise its ambitions so we get a deal that protects us from a 4 degree world.”

The 4ºC projection can be thought of as a plausible worst case scenario – the sort of outcome that we have to take seriously when deciding on emissions reductions. Based on modelling done at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre (discussed at this recent conference, BBC coverage here), the map shows what could happen if global emissions continue to rise unchecked — but not when we would get there. Some model runs suggest it could be as early as the 2060s. One key point to note: a 4ºC rise in the global average does not mean a 4ºC rise everywhere. Some places (like NZ) will be shielded from the full warming by cool oceans, but in the Arctic, for instance, the rise could be as much as 15ºC, and over continental interiors such as the USA and Asia 6 – 8ºC. Large parts of central Australia will be 6ºC hotter — as will much of Antarctica. The planet will be radically transformed, and not in a good way. More coverage at the Telegraph, Independent and Guardian.

14 thoughts on “Four degrees too far”

  1. Here we go again… “The 4ºC projection can be thought of as a plausible worst case scenario ”

    More bloody guessing… more projections, assumptions, conjecture… it might, it could, we expect, may possibly, we think.

    Utter tosh.

    Why don’t these dingbats stick their necks out and admit they haven’t got a bloody clue?

  2. madjack, I’m sure that’s what Chicken Little said… “We have to DO something! We can’t wait until the sky falls on our heads!”

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

  3. Oh, he doesn’t need a prediction. He dislikes the field of prediction entirely. I’ve heard he won’t talk to anyone with a mortgage, on the basis that they make predictions about their future earnings and interest rates.

    Cause, y’know, if someone makes a prediction about the future based on the best available knowledge now, they’re an idiot, right?

  4. AGW-Denier is just trotting out another variant on argument from ignorance: “I don’t understand the subject, I’m not able to point out where the science is wrong, but it disagrees with what I believe and therefore it must all be nonsense”.

    Rather sad, really.

    1. I doubt he’s married (at least not to a real person). That would require predicting what the person might be like throughout the marriage…

      Oh, and finding someone who doesn’t think he’s an utter pillock…

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