Grim warning on climate change from top scientist

| 24/08/2012

greenhouse-gas-emissions-up-2007.jpg(Channel4News): The planet could be facing a catastrophic 5 degree temperature rise, and we are losing time to address the threat of climate change, one of the government's leading scientists tells Channel 4 News. Speaking before he steps down as chief scientist at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Sir Bob Watson also warned that governments couldn't afford to do nothing about greenhouse gas emissions despite the economic downturn. At global climate summits like in Copenhagen in 2009 it was agreed to try and limit global warming to two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial temperatures.

"There is really almost no chance now of meeting that political target," said Dr Watson, who also served chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "If we continue the way we are we've got a 50-50 shot of a 3 degree [warmer] world and I would not rule out a 5 degree world."

Researchers are confident that level of warming would see the tropical forests of the Amazon and sub-Saharan Africa become arid zones, forcing mass movements of people and agriculture north and southwards. The increased amount of energy in the atmosphere would result in new weather patterns, including more intense rainfall across the globe.
Extreme weather debate

There is currently debate among climate scientists as to whether extreme weather events like the ongoing drought in the US, heatwaves in Europe, and summer flooding in the UK should be directly attributed to a warming climate.

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