EARTH LIKELY TO PASS DANGEROUS WARMING LIMITS

——————————–
“I think it’s well accepted that 2 degrees is
likely to be exceeded,” said Vicky Pope,
manager of the MetOffice Hadley Centre’s climate change research programme.

“Largely thanks to man-made greenhouse gas
emissions, temperatures worldwide rose some 0.7
degrees last century, and another 0.6 degrees is
locked in as the world’s oceans catch up with
quicker warming over land.”
————————————

Reuters News Service
11/9/2007

World Likely to Pass Dangerous Warming Limits – Study

LONDON – The world will probably exceed a global
warming limit which the European Union calls
dangerous, scientists at Britain’s MetOffice
Hadley Centre said on Tuesday, presenting a new,
5-year research programme.

But not all scientists agree, demonstrating a
shift in debate from whether climate change is
happening — on which where there is near
consensus — to how bad it will get and what to
do about it.

European Union (EU) leaders reiterated in March
“the vital importance” of restricting global
warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above
pre-industrial levels.

That goal is the basis for a raft of EU climate
measures to cut emissions of heat-trapping
greenhouse gases. MetOffice researchers doubted
it was achieveable.

“I think it’s well accepted that 2 degrees is
likely to be exceeded,” said Vicky Pope, manager
of the MetOffice Hadley Centre’s climate change
research programme.

“We need much more accurate, detailed information
about how climate change will happen in the
future,” she added.

Some scientists are optimistic about the EU target.

“This ambitious goal is not only scientifically
justified but also both economically and ethical
imperative,” the Director of the Potsdam
Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans
Joachim Schellnhuber, told an EU Parliament
hearing on Monday.

Dangerous global warming includes irreversible
changes, for example runaway melting of the polar
ice caps, which is expected to start above around
2 degrees warming.

“If we still cut emissions we have the chance to
avoid exceeding 2 degrees,” said Malte
Meinshausen, a Potsdam Institute researcher,
adding that the MetOffice estimate was as valid
as other studies but suggested a slightly higher
risk than most.

Largely thanks to man-made greenhouse gas
emissions, temperatures worldwide rose some 0.7
degrees last century, and another 0.6 degrees is
locked in as the world’s oceans catch up with
quicker warming over land.

DANGEROUS

Efforts to cut man-made emissions of
planet-warming gases like carbon dioxide could
stem the worst climate effects, and understanding
this better will form one plank of the new
MetOffice research programme.

“A lot of work done so far has assumed we don’t mitigate,” said Pope.

In a major report in February, the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
did not take account of climate protection
measures when it estimated between 1.8 and 4
degrees warming worldwide this century.

The other main focus of the 86 million pound
(US$173.9 million) research programme, funded by
ministries for environment and defence, will be
into detailed, regional climate impacts and
assessing the risk of catastrophe.

Evidence has emerged, for example, that the
Greenland ice sheet may be melting faster than
expected, with implications for global sea level
rise.

“It’s about getting a handle on low probability,
high impact events,” said Pope.

Story by Gerard Wynn

Story Date: 11/9/2007

© Reuters News Service 2007

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