A new Google Earth map highlights the devastating impact a 4C rise in temperature would have on different parts of the world.
The interactive tool, which was released by the UK’s coalition government, aims to stimulate the debate on carbon emissions and climate change.
It comes after recent warnings that – based on current international carbon pledges – the earth’s temperature is set to rise by an average of nearly 4C, which could lead to sea level rises, forest fires and drought.
The online map shows how temperature rises differ drastically around the world. The poles glow red, with a potential rise of up to 10C, while northern Europe escapes with light orange 2-3C rises. Other hot spots including the Amazon rainforest stand out.
Climate change minister Greg Barker said: “It does not make pleasant viewing and underlines the threat to human and national security if we don’t act now.”
Deforestation is one of the main causes of climate change. In just 24 hours, logging will release as much carbon into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York.
The good news is that steps to tackle deforestation are starting to make a difference. A recent report reveals global production of illegal timber has dropped by a 22 per cent since 2002 while Brazil, Cameroon and Indonesia, have seen levels fall by a huge 50 to 75 per cent.
It has been calculated that since 2002, 17m hectares of forest have been saved from deforestation, preventing the release of up 1.2bn tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
However, there is still a long way to go before countries achieve sustainable management of their tropical forests.