Climate Change by Degree. An Overview of How Global Warming Will Affect the Planet
Scientists predict an increase in the average temperature of the planet’s surface of 1.4°C and 5.8°C by the close of this century.*
- +1°C warmer: deterioration of mountain glaciers and coral reefs, rain
forests, ice sheets in Greenland, US midwest arable farmland; 10%
productivity loss in Bangladeshi farming – a loss of 4m tonnes ($2.5bn)
of food grain, or 2% of GDP.
- +2°C warmer: forests destroyed by insects normally dead in winter;
polar bears endangered; some Pacific islands completely submerged.
- +3°C warmer: the tipping point, according to scientists; extinction
of thousands of species; Category-6 hurricanes now the regular norm,
not the exception.
- +4°C warmer: population migration as refugees escape famine and
draught-stricken regions; general sea levels rise by up to 48 inches,
destroying coastal cities.
- +5°C warmer: vast regions are now uninhabitable, with many millions on
- +6°C warmer: a return to how the Earth looked 65 million years ago
during the dinosaur-inhabited Cretaceous period; most of the planet
is now desert.
*Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)