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Understanding, communicating and managing uncertainty and risk related to future changes in catchments.

Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes

Unchecked global warming could bring a severe temperature rise of 4°C within many people’s lifetimes, according to a new report for the British government that significantly raises the stakes over climate change.

The study, prepared for the Department of Energy and Climate Change by scientists at the Met Office, challenges the assumption that severe warming will be a threat only for future generations, and warns that a catastrophic 4°C rise in temperature could happen by 2060 without strong action on emissions.

“We’ve always talked about these very severe impacts only affecting future generations, but people alive today could live to see a 4°C rise,” said Richard Betts, the head of climate impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, who will announce the findings today at a conference at Oxford University. “People will say it’s an extreme scenario, and it is an extreme scenario, but it’s also a plausible scenario.”

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