Scientists have warned that increases in global average temperatures of four degrees Celsius, resulting in drought, desertification and rapid sea level rise, could be terrifyingly real by 2060.
A lack of progress towards a global deal to curb greenhouse emissions means the target agreed at last year's Copenhagen Summit of limiting average temperature rise to two degrees is now almost impossible to achieve, according to a special series of journal papers published by the Royal Society.
The international study team behind the research wrote that increasing greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decade rendered the two-degree target "extremely difficult, arguably impossible, raising the likelihood of global temperature rises of three or four degrees Celsius within this century".
The research comes just days after the Met Office released a report warning that the world has warmed more quickly than was previously thought over the past decade. A series of further studies have predicted over the last week that 2010 is likely to be the joint hottest year on record.
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