Global temperatures could rise by 4 degrees within our own lifetimes, according to a study presented at this week's "4 Degrees and Beyond" conference. The conference is the first to consider the global consequences of climate change beyond 2°C, and is jointly sponsored by the Environmental Change Institute (part of the 21st Century School), the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Met Office Hadley Centre.
Since the late 1990s, greenhouse gas emissions have increased at close to the most extreme scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, meaning that rates of warming will be faster than most people expect. Speaking at the international conference Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, described the possibility of a 4 degree warming happening "before the end of the century".
Other speakers presenting at the conference include former James Martin Fellow Professor John Schellnhuber, currently Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Director of the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests.
The "4 Degrees and Beyond" conference takes place in advance of the December United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, billed as the last chance to reach an international agreement on cutting emissions.