Map shows climate-change effects

A map illustrating the global consequences of failing to keep climate change to under 2C has been launched by the government.

A map illustrating the global consequences of failing to keep climate change to under 2oC has been launched by the government.

The map has been revealed ahead of international climate-change talks in Copenhagen this December.

The map – launched at the Science Museum by foreign secretary David Miliband, climate and energy secretary Ed Miliband and UK’s chief scientist John Beddington – was developed using the latest peer-reviewed science from the Met Office Hadley Centre and other leading scientists.

The map highlights some of the impacts that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4oC above the pre-industrial climate average.

Ahead of the Copenhagen talks, the government has called for an agreement that limits climate change as far as possible to 2oC. According to some scientists, increases of more than 2oC will have huge impacts on the world.

‘This map shows that the stakes couldn’t be any higher at the Copenhagen talks in December,’ said Ed Miliband at the map’s unveiling. ‘Britain’s scientists have helped to illustrate the catastrophic effects that will result if the world fails to limit the global temperature rise to 2oC. 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 4oC world.’

The climate map shows that a four-degree average rise will not be spread uniformly across the globe. The land will heat up more quickly than the sea and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases.

The average land temperature will be 5.5oC above pre-industrial levels, according to government-supported scientific figures.

The map also shows the effects of human activity and highlights the severe effects on water availability, agricultural productivity, extreme temperatures and drought, the risk of forest fire and sea-level rise.

According to the government’s figures, agricultural yields are expected to decrease for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production. It is estimated that half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23 per cent of the population of China being deprived of the vital dry-season glacial-melt water source.

Vicky Pope, head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office said, ‘If emissions continue at the current rate, the global average temperature is likely to rise by 4oC by the end of this century, or even substantially earlier. The science tells us that this will have severe and widespread impacts in all parts of the world, so we need to take action now to reduce emissions to avoid water and food shortages in the future.’

Click on the following link to view the interactive Climate impacts map: