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Warming World: Impacts by Degree

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch during which human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate. This booklet, based on the National Research Council report Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia (2011) outlines the scientific information that makes it clear that emission reductions today matter in determining impacts that will be experienced over the next few decades and into the coming centuries and millennia. The booklet explains how policy choices can be informed by recent advances in climate science that show the relationships among increasing carbon dioxide, global warming, related physical changes, and resulting impacts. Expected impacts are identified and quantified when possible, including impacts on streamflow, wildfires, crop productivity, the frequency of very hot summers, and sea-level rise and its associated risks and vulnerabilities.