OECD Observer
Charting a disastrous course on climate

The UK government has prepared a map of the world showing how the effects of climate change would differ by region. The map, presented to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría by the British ambassador to the OECD, Dominic Martin, shows the likely impact on the planet of a 4 °C rise in the global average temperature.

OECD analysis suggests that unless action is taken, global greenhouse gas emissions will rise by about 70% between now and 2050, and that by 2100 there could be a 4-6 °C global mean increase in temperatures above pre-industrial levels.

The map shows that as the Himalayan glaciers melt, 23% of the population of China could be deprived of vital, dry season, glacial melt water by 2050. It also shows that an estimated mean sea-level rise of 53 cm by 2075 would result in floods affecting an additional 150 million people, particularly in Asia.

Mr Gurría said that the map "constitutes an invaluable contribution to raise awareness of the size of the challenge". He added, "The scientific evidence is overwhelming, the economic logic is compelling, and the costs of inaction are frightening."

© OECD Observer, No. 275, November 2009