Ex-IPCC chief: 5°C warming?
The former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says global average temperatures could reach five degrees centigrade above their pre-industrial level. British scientist Sir Robert Watson, who chaired the panel from 1997 until 2002, said the world had missed its chance to keep emissions below the level needed to keep to the 2°C maximum target set by the international community.
Speaking at a symposium on “Preventing global con-communicable diseases through low-carbon development” at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, (LSHTM), Professor Watson said the chances of keeping temperature rise below three degrees are fifty-fifty, and the rise could be as high as five degrees. That would mean the Earth warming more than it has since the end of the last Ice Age. The consequences for the planet would be dramatic.
In a report for the “Climate News Network”, environment reporter Alex Kirby quotes Watson as saying: “All the promises in the world, which we’re not likely to realise anyway, will not give us a world with only a 2°C rise. All the evidence, in my opinion, suggests we’re on our way to a 3°C to 5°C world.”
The British expert is science director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, UK, and chief scientific adviser to the UK Government’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He says there are solutions available to tackle climate change, but a lack of political will and moral leadership to implement them. Emissions are continuing to rise at a rate which makes it highly unlikely the two degree target can be adhered to.
“When I was chairing the IPCC we were all very optimistic that we’d have a global agreement to limit emissions, though we knew it would be difficult. But we were hopeful that emissions would not go up at the tremendous rate they are rising now,” says Watson.
More on this story at Climate News Network
DateFebruary 14, 2013 | 10:12 am