Flooding and water stress risk from proven temperature increases

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LONDON, England, Dec. 6, 2011 – If emissions are left unchecked from 24 developing to developed countries around the world then temperatures could increase by five degrees Celsius this century and lead to water stress and flood risks, a new scientific report has found.

Launched this week during international talks on global warming in Durban, South Africa, the assessment was commissioned by the UK's Met Office and studied 24 different countries, from developed to developing.

All countries studied show an increase in the number of people at risk from coastal flooding due to sea level rise. By the end of the century, in the worst case scenario, up to about 49 million additional people could be at risk, with the majority being in Bangladesh, China, India, Egypt and Indonesia, the report said.

It noted that all the countries in the study have warmed since the 1960s and that the occurrence of extremely warm temperatures has increased while extremely cold temperatures have become less frequent.

Furthermore, the findings said that the majority of countries studied are projected to see a significant increased risk of river flooding.

Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: "This report highlights some of the very real dangers we face if we don't limit emissions to combat the rise in global temperature. Life for millions of people could change forever, with water and food supplies being placed in jeopardy and homes and livelihoods under threat. This makes the challenge of reducing emissions ever more urgent.

"The UK wants a legally binding global agreement to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees. If this is achieved this study shows that some of the most significant impacts of climate change could be reduced significantly. By the end of this week we need to see progress to move towards this goal."

The individual country reports can be found online by clicking here.

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