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Climate change conference

The United Nations climate conference, held in Copenhagen, ended with the Conference of the Parties taking note of the Copenhagen Accord.

Climate change experts from the Met Office played a key role in the conference, providing clear science on the facts of global warming and the challenges we face. As part of this role, we created a map showing some of the impacts our world would see if global average temperatures increased by 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

The impact of a global temperature rise of 2 °C (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Quick links

Dr Vicky Pope talks about the conference and the science behind it (YouTube video)

Download the transcript (PDF, 94 kB)

Animation of possible future temperature rise over the whole world (YouTube video)

You can also download the COP15 ‘Science — Driving our response to climate change’ brochure, as a series of individual PDF files.

Informing mitigation (PDF, 3 MB)

Informing choices 1 — Mitigation (PDF, 2 MB)

Informing choices 2 — Adaptation (PDF, 3 MB)

Tackling temperature rises news release

Conference topics

Articles below discuss some of the key issues surrounding climate science and climate change. They include some of the topics which were central to the discussions in Copenhagen.

Greenland ice floe.

Warming could push Greenland ice sheet beyond ‘tipping points’

Scientific research has shown that if global temperatures rise unchecked, then the Greenland ice sheet could melt completely over a few thousand years — pushing up global sea levels by up to seven metres.

The ocean.

Global temperature slowdown — not an end to climate change

After three decades of warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, why would there suddenly be a period of relative temperature stability — despite more greenhouse gases being emitted than ever before?

Man's hands holding the Earth.

Helping the UK avoid dangerous climate change

Our scientists are leading a Government initiative — known as AVOID — to further improve the knowledge of our ministers and government officials.

Rainforest canopy.


Met Office climate change impacts expert Dr Richard Betts examines the issue of deforestation and climate change.

Rainforest canopy.

The risks of geoengineering

Geoengineering schemes include placing mirrors in space or putting particles in our atmosphere to reflect more of the Sun's rays. But, research by the Met Office shows that relying on these methods instead of reducing carbon emissions is no easy solution.

Cityscape in smog.

What science tells us about future temperature rises

Climate projections from the Met Office Hadley Centre show just how challenging meeting climate change targets will be.

Mapping climate impacts

In order to understand more about what the human impact of climate change might be the Met Office Hadley Centre has produced two maps outlining some of the impacts that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 2 °C and 4 °C above the pre-industrial climate average.

Two-degree map

Greenland ice floe.

Interactive four-degree map

Launch the interactive full screen map

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Scientific evidence for early action

Dr Vicky Pope explains why momentum on emissions targets must not be lost.