2°C warming may still be too high

The latest climate research indicates that the world may be approaching its final opportunity to keep global warming below the critical 2° Celsius, and even maintaining this threshold may still not prevent the worst effects of climate change, the WWF reported. The global conservation organisation urges the governments participating in the United Nations climate talks in Poznan, Poland next week to craft a strong negotiation text for the new climate treaty due at the end of 2009.


Scientists now caution that warming of even less than 2° C might be enough to prompt the meltdown of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the loss of Arctic sea ice. The result of this melting is predicted to cause global sea levels to rise by several metres, threatening numerous countries’ coastlines.


"The latest science confirms that we are now seeing devastating consequences of warming that were not expected to hit for decades," says Kim Carstensen, WWF Global Climate Initiative leader. "The early meltdown of ice in the Arctic and Greenland may soon prompt further dangerous climate feedbacks accelerating warming faster and stronger than forecast. Responsible politicians cannot dare to waste another second on delaying tactics in the face of these urgent warnings from nature."


Oceans — the primary storage facility for excess carbon dioxide (CO2) created by human activities – have seen a decrease in CO2 absorption capacity of 5% over the last 50 years. At the same time, manmade CO2 emissions from fossil fuels this decade have risen four times faster than in the previous decade.


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