Says The Guardian:
The map was launched to coincide with the London Science Museum's new Prove it climate change exhibition by David Miliband, foreign secretary and his brother Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary. It comes in advance of key political talks on climate change in December in Copenhagen, where British officials will push for a new global deal to curb emissions.The map presumes a global average rise of 4 degrees Celsius, a disastrous scenario which is nonetheless where we are very probably headed (as the UK Met Office says itself). That is, again, assuming that we don't take significant action to thwart such a catastrophe.
The Miliband brothers said a new deal needed to be strong enough to limit global temperature rise to 2C, although many involved in the negotiations privately believe this to be impossible. A joint press release from the government and the Met Office released to promote the map says the government is aiming for an agreement that limits climate change "as far as possible to 2C".
I personally consider such action highly unlikely for a number of reasons, which is really too bad, because this forecast is a terrible one. It calls for temperatures to be 6-7C warmer across most of the continental US, for instance. That's about 10-13 degrees Fahrenheit; that's like the difference between spring and summer. The "hottest days of the year could become as much as 10-12C (18-22F) warmer [!] over eastern North America," says the map; it's even worse for the Arctic, where a rise of 15C is so off-the-charts huge that's it's just impossible to predict what sort of effects it will have; beyond the prospect of a positive feedback from Arctic methane release, it's really not much fun to think about it anymore.
I will just stand up on my little digital soapbox here and make the point, not for the first time, that this dystopic future is the price we're paying for our cheeseburgers and our SUVs. It is really a profoundly, spectacularly, stupidly high price to pay for a lifestyle that, frankly, is not all that great to begin with. But no doubt this lesson will sink in... oh, right about the time that Bangladesh does.
Via The Map Room.