2 degrees is too much!: Evidence and implications of dangerous climate change in the Arctic | WWF

2 degrees is too much!: Evidence and implications of dangerous climate change in the Arctic

Posted on
30 January 2005
Everyone accepts the Earth is warming up, but by how much? And when will it reach a truly dangerous level, if it hasn’t already?

WWF believes the global average temperature rise above pre-industrial levels should be kept well below 2°C (3.6°F).

But what would a full 2°C global rise mean for the Arctic?

To find out, the WWF International Arctic Programme commissioned a collection of studies, "Evidence and Implications of Dangerous Climate Change in the Arctic".

One paper shows the Earth might have warmed by 2°C as soon as 2026. But the Arctic would have warmed by at least 3.2°C - and possibly more than twice that.

Ice and snow reflect more solar radiation than unfrozen surfaces. So as the Arctic melts, local warming is amplified.

"Unless we act immediately to cut CO2 emissions, some parts of the Arctic will soon become unrecognisable", says Tonje Folkestad, climate change officer at the Arctic Programme.

WWF research shows perennial Arctic ice is melting by nearly 10% a decade. It’s on course to disappear entirely by the end of the century.

This means polar bears, walrus and seals living on the ice could become extinct. Many other Arctic species would also feel severe impacts.

The fears of Inuit communities from Greenland to eastern Russia are also covered in the WWF report.

Global warming puts traditional hunting and food-sharing at great risk."

Sixty per cent of the tundra habitat of birds like ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons, sandpipers and terns could be lost in the 2°C warming scenario.

Migratory birds will lose vital staging and breeding grounds, affecting biodiversity around the world.

So, two degrees? It’s too much!