Washington: Climate outlook may be worse than feared, according to a new global study.
As world leaders hold climate talks in Paris, the University of Edinburgh research showed that land surface temperatures may rise by an average of almost 8C by 2100, if significant efforts are not made to counteract climate change.
Such a rise would have a devastating impact on life on Earth. It would place billions of people at risk from extreme temperatures, flooding, regional drought, and food shortages.
The study calculated the likely effect of increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases above pre-industrialisation amounts. It finds that if emissions continue to grow at current rates, with no significant action taken by society, then by 2100 global land temperatures will have increased by 7.9C, compared with 1750.
This finding lies at the very uppermost range of temperature rise as calculated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It also breaches the United Nations' safe limit of 2C, beyond which the UN says dangerous climate change can be expected.
Roy Thompson, who carried out the study, said that estimates vary over the impacts of climate change, but what is now clear is that society needs to take firm, speedy action to minimise climate damage.
The study appears in Earth and Environmental Trans actions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.