Emissions cuts offered so far at the Copenhagen summit will lead to global temperatures rising by an average of three degrees, a confidential UN analysis obtained by The Guardian reveals.

Rie Jerichow17/12/2009 20:50
A confidential UN draft marked “do not distribute” and “initial draft” shows a gap of up to 4.2 gigatonnes of carbon emissions between the present pledges and the required level of 44 gigatonnes that is required to stay below a two degree temperature rise, The Guardian reports.

According to the “Stern Review” by economist Nicholas Stern for the British government, a warming of three or four degrees Celsius will result in tens to hundreds of millions more people being flooded each year due to rising sea levels. “There will be serious risks and increasing pressures for coastal protection in Southeast Asia (Bangladesh and Vietnam), small islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and large coastal cities, such as Tokyo, New York, Cairo and London,” the report shows.

Greenpeace describes the confidential document as “explosive” and showing that the numbers on the table at the moment would lead to nothing less than “climate breakdown” and an “extraordinarily dangerous situation for humanity”.

“The UN is admitting in private that the pledges made by world leaders would lead to a three degree rise in temperatures. The science shows that it could lead to the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, crippling water shortages across South America and Australia and the near-extinction of tropical coral reefs, and that’s just the start of it,” Greenpeace campaigner Joss Garman tells the newspaper.