Leaked climate change report: Scientific body warns of 'devastating rise of 4-5C if we carry on as we are'

Global greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade were the "highest in human history", according to the world's leading scientific body for the assessment of climate change. 

Without further action, temperatures will increase by about 4 to 5C, compared with pre-industrial levels, it warns, a level that could reap devastating effects on the planet.

The stark findings are to be revealed in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today, the last in a trilogy written by hundreds of scientists on what is considered the definitive take on climate change.

The experts were working on the report until the early hours of yesterday morning. Although the thrust of the report is dramatic, it does say that it is not too late to limit global warming to less than 2C, which experts regard as the minimum needed to avoid radical global shifts. But its suggested scenarios would mean slashing global emissions by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050 from 2010 levels.

This would include "fundamental changes in energy systems and potentially the land", the draft found, such as a move towards renewable energy, nuclear power and fossil energy whose carbon emissions are captured or stored.

Read full text in The Independent