25 Nov 2011
Climate change fears 'have been exaggerated' say scientists who claim apocalyptic predictions are unlikely
By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 2:03 PM on 25th November 2011
Apocalyptic predictions about climate change are likely to be wrong, a study says.
The scientists who produced it say that dire forecasts that a doubling of carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels would cause rises in temperature of as much as 10c are unlikely.
Instead, the maximum increase is likely to be no more than 2.6c, they added, and the best guess 2.3c.
Writing in the journal Science, Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University said he and colleagues studied how changes in carbon dioxide levels during the last ice age affected temperature.
This allowed them to extrapolate how today’s temperature will rise with carbon dioxide.
‘The results imply less probability of extreme climatic change than previously thought,’ said the U.S. government-funded scientists.
Dr Schmittner said it would be ‘virtually impossible’ for a doubling of carbon dioxide to cause temperatures to rise by 8c or 10c.
Governments should still be tackling global warming, he said, but they have more time to get it right.
Dr Bob Ward, a climate change policy expert at the London School of Economics, said however that this one study is unlikely to supersede all the science that has gone before.