CLIMATE CHANGE: Four Degrees of Devastation

Posted by Trish Riley, October 27, 2009

Flooding will affect at least 500 million people because sea levels will rise more than one metre by 2100. The somewhat contentious issue of future sea level rise has been resolved with a new computer model that almost perfectly matches the historical changes in sea level since 1880, reported oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Even at two or three degrees of warming, sea level will inevitably rise many metres higher in the centuries to come. The main questions are how fast levels will increase, and whether vulnerable countries like Holland can build seawalls fast enough to keep up with the rising water levels and the extraordinary costs involved, he said.

In a four-degree warmer world, adaptation means “put your feet up and die” for many people in the world, Oxford’s Chris West said bluntly. “In accepting the many alarming impacts, we see that it (a four-degree C increase) is not acceptable.”

The climate negotiators heading to Copenhagen in December must accept the fact that the world’s carbon emissions must eventually stop – and stop completely. There is no sustainable per capita carbon emission level because it is the total amount of carbon emitted that counts, explains Myles Allen of the Climate Dynamics group at University of Oxford’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department.

via CLIMATE CHANGE: Four Degrees of Devastation – IPS