At the dawn of the industrial revolution, the Earth’s atmosphere contained 278 parts of CO₂ per million. Today, after more than two and a half centuries of fossil fuel use, that figure is around 414 parts per million (ppm). If the build-up of CO₂ continues at current rates, by 2060 it will have passed 560 ppm – more than double the level of pre-industrial times. Exactly how the climate will respond to all this extra CO₂ is one of the central questions in climate science. Just how much will the climate actually change? A major new international assessment of the…

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