Leading scientists have warned that the planet is not far off a climatic tipping point that triggers an irreversible level of “runaway” global warming, even if countries meet CO2 targets.
The threshold will be reached when average global temperatures are only around 2C higher than they were in pre-industrial times, new research suggests.
An international team of climate researchers, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, says the warming expected in the next few decades could turn some of the Earth's natural forces - that currently protect us - into our enemies.
Each year the Earth's forests, oceans and land soak up about 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere adding to temperatures. But as the world experiences warming, these carbon sinks could become sources of carbon and make the problems of climate change significantly worse.
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