This is big news. A confidential UN analysis obtained by the Guardian reveals that the emissions cuts offered so far at the Copenhagen climate change summit will lead to global temperatures rising by an average of 3C.
Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo had this to say:
This is the single most important piece of paper in the world today. It shows in stark terms that the climate deal on the table in Copenhagen would put at risk the very viability of our civilisation on Earth. A three degree rise in temperatures means devastation for Africa and the possible collapse of the eco-systems that billions of humans rely on. This document is the smoking gun. It puts world leaders on notice. They have one day left to step up, otherwise they will be remembered forever as the people who consigned the world to chaos.
What's worth such claims? The document, dated this Tuesday 15 December, is a UN memo analysing the pledges made by developed nations and some others in the run-up to Copenhagen. From this information they've calculated that if that's all that comes out of the deal tomorrow, we're on track for global temperatures rises of around 3C.
Bad as that is in itself, it completely rubbishes claims by leaders around the world that they're committed to reducing emissions so temperatures don't exceed 2C. And during the talks, many developing countries have been saying that temperatures should not be allowed to rise by more than 1.5C, requiring an even bigger effort to get emissions down.
So behind closed doors, it looks like the UN is admitting that the deals currently being offered are going to push us straight down the road to catastrophic climate change. But as George Monbiot said to an audience of bloggers and activists last night, the term 'climate change' is like calling a foreign invasion 'receiving unexpected visitors'; maybe 'climate breakdown' is more appropriate and this paper suggests that's the way we're heading.
Unless, that is, the heads of state get a grip on the situation and make it a FAB deal - fair, ambitious and legally binding - tomorrow. More on Desmog and the Guardian.