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Brutal heatwaves and submerged cities: what a 3C world would look like

Brutal heatwaves and submerged cities: what a 3C world would look like

Climate scientists have told the Guardian they expect catastrophic levels of global heating. Here’s what that would mean for the planet

Global heating is likely to soar past internationally agreed limits, according to a Guardian survey of hundreds of leading climate experts, bringing catastrophic heatwaves, floods and storms.

Only 6% of the respondents thought the 1.5C limit could be achieved, and this would require extraordinarily fast, radical action to halt and reverse the world’s rising emissions from fossil fuel burning.

However, the experts were clear that giving up was not an option, and that 1.5C was not a cliff-edge leading to a significant change in climate damage. Instead, the climate crisis increases incrementally, meaning every tonne of CO2 avoided reduces people’s suffering.

At 1.5C, the ‘climate benchmark’

Heatwaves and storms intensify, tropical corals die off and tipping points for ice sheet collapses and permafrost thawing may be triggered.

At 2C

The brutal heatwave that struck the The Pacific north-west in 2021 would be 100-200 times more likely. The increases in direct flood damage around the world doubles at 2C.

At 2.7C

Two billion people would be pushed outside humanity’s “climate niche”, ie the benign conditions in which the whole of civilisation arose over the past 10,000 years.

At 3C

Cities including Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Miami and The Hague would end up below sea level.

At 3C and above

The impact of climate shocks in one place will cascade around the world, through food price spikes, food and water shortages, broken supply chains, and refugees by the millions.

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