Dangerous 3-6°C temperature rise likely by 2100

10th December 2012


News5

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation

Author

IEMA

With greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions reaching record levels, global temperatures will rise at least 3°C by the end of the century unless dramatic changes are made to policy and behavior, warn researchers

A series of independent research reports concluded that if global GHG emissions continue to follow current trends the world will be 3-6°C warmer by 2100.

A study carried out for the World Bank, concluded that temperatures could rise by 4°C as early as the 2060s if governments fail to meet existing commitments to cut GHGs, and that without tougher targets a 3°C increase is to be expected by 2100.

Such increases in temperatures will, according to the World Bank, result in devastating heat waves across, at least a 0.5m rise in sea-levels and an irreversible loss of biodiversity and ecosystems services.

Meanwhile PwC concluded in its fourth low-carbon economy index that temperature rises would be even higher. “Even doubling our current annual rates of decarbonisation globally every year to 2050, would still lead to a 6°C increase, making governments’ ambitions to limit warming to 2°C appear highly unrealistic,” said Jonathan Grant, director, sustainability and climate change at PwC.

Initial data from the Global Carbon Project on 2012 emissions, estimate at that output of CO2 around the world grew by 2.6%, despite cuts from Europe and the US, to levels that are 58% higher than in 1990. And the latest figures from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) confirm that atmospheric concentrations of GHGs including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, were 30% higher in 2011 than in 1990.

“Until now, carbon sinks have absorbed nearly half of the carbon dioxide humans emitted in the atmosphere, but this will not necessarily continue in the future said WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud. “We have already seen that the oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of the CO2 uptake, with potential repercussions for the underwater food chain and coral reefs.”

Jarruad’s warning came as the European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report confirming that the impacts of climate change were already being felt across the bloc, with 2002–2011 revealed to be the warmest decade on record. European land temperatures were 1.3°C warmer than the pre-industrial average, reveals the EEA, and could be 2.5–4°C warmer than 1990 levels by the end of the century.

The agency’s report also confirms that over the last decade heat waves have increased in frequency and length, causing tens of thousands of deaths; incidences of both drought and floods have occurred; and that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet has doubled since the 1990s.

Melting icecaps in Greenland and the Arctic are thought to be the main cause of rising sea levels, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s latest research has revealed that over the last 20 years the oceans have risen by 3.2mm – 60% above existing estimates.

“Climate change is a reality around the world, and the extent and speed of change is becoming ever more evident,” commented Jacqueline McGlade, EEA executive director. “This means that every part of the economy needs to adapt as well as reduce emissions.”

Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall centre for climate change research and a professor at University of East Anglia, said: “If carbon emissions continue the way they are, they are leading to climate change of 4°C or above.

“These are really, really big changes in the way the world operates. It is very difficult to say what such a world would look like and impossible to guarantee that it would be safe for population of seven billion people.”

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close