If current warming trends continue, average global temperature will rise by 7°F/4°C by 2060. So what's the big deal?
Actually, you're talking Four-Horsemen-of-the-Apocalypse levels of pain: You'd have failing crops across the world, massive droughts threatening half the world's population, half of all animals and plants dying off, cyclones, and metastasizing deserts. All of which are summarized in this massive infographic by Britain's Met Office. As the Guardian reports:
The map was launched to coincide with the London Science Museum's new Prove it climate change exhibition by David Miliband, foreign secretary and his brother Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary. It comes in advance of key political talks on climate change in December in Copenhagen, where British officials will push for a new global deal to curb emissions...The map's release marks a significant shift in political discourse onclimate change, with many politicians until recently unwilling todiscuss the possibility of a failure to hit the 2C target.
The color-coded rings on the map show exactly what areas might be affected by each of nine different effects, ranging from water-shortages to forest fires.
You'll notice that the rings are most heavily concentrated on the developing world. And that highlights the cruelest feature of global warming: Big countries like the U.S., Russia, and China are by far the worst carbon emitters. But they're not the countries who'll suffer the most in a warming world—the costs, in lives, will be borne most heavily by countries without the means to really change what's going on. If the tables were turned—if global warming struck hardest at home—you can bet the debate over carbon emissions would look far different than it does now.