A confidential UN analysis obtained by the Guardian reveals that the emissions cuts offered so far at the Copenhagen climate change summit will lead to global temperatures rising by an average of 3C. The analysis seriously undermines the statements by governments that they are aiming to limit emissions to a level ensuring no more than a 2C temperature rise over the next century, and indicates that the last 24 hours of negotiations will be extremely challenging.
A rise of 3C would mean up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods and 550 million more at risk of hunger, according to the 2006 Stern economic review of climate change for the UK government - as well as leaving up to 50% of species facing extinction. Even a rise of 2C would lead to sharp decline in tropical crop yields, more flooding and droughts.
Rajendra Pachauri said "the tragedy of the situation is that those countries that have not at all contributed to the problem of climate change will be the ones that are most affected" (picture from Guardian site.)
What values do we espouse? Do we really want our leaders to sign a treaty leaving the poorest vulnerable to stavation? The picture above wasn't taken by a time traveler - climate change is impacting people and ecosystems as I type. Do we wish it to get worse?