4 Degrees and Beyond International Climate Conference

The 4 Degrees and Beyond International Climate Conference, subtitled Implications of a Global Climate Change of 4+ Degrees for People, Ecosystems and the Earth-system, was held 28-30 September 2009 at Oxford, United Kingdom.[1] The three-day conference had about 140 science, government, NGO and private sector delegates, and included 35 oral presentations and 18 poster presentations. The conference website includes a page for downloading abstracts, presentations, audio recordings, and the programme.[2] Links to a number of news stories are also provided.[3] Sponsors were the University of Oxford, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and the Met Office Hadley Center.

Video podcasts of all oral presentations are posted on a University of Oxford website;[4] however, to find videos by presenter names the above cited program must first be consulted to find the presentation title.

In January 2011 eleven papers and three introductory articles resulting from the conference were published as a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications.[5][6] Many of the papers are free downloads. The contents of the special issue are listed later in this article.

In July 2011 a follow-up conference, Four Degrees Or More? Australia in a Hot World, was held at the University of Melbourne, Australia. It is described in the last section of this article.


Rationale for the Conference

"Despite 17 years of negotiations since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. Since 2000 the rates of annual emissions growth have increased at rates at the upper end of the IPCC scenarios, presenting the global community with a stark challenge: either instigate an immediate and radical reversal in existing emission trends or accept global temperature rises well beyond 4°."
"The immediacy and scale of the reductions necessary to avoid anything below 4°C, and indeed the human and ecosystem implications of living with 4°C, are beyond anything we have been prepared to countenance. Understanding the implications of 4°C and higher temperatures is essential if global society is to make informed choices about the balance between "extreme" rates of mitigation and "extreme" impacts and adaptation costs."
"The aim of this conference is therefore to: (i) assess the consequences of a change in global temperature above 4°C for a range of systems and sectors, and (ii) explore the options that are open for avoiding climate changes of this magnitude. The results of the conference will form an important background to the COP 15 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, December 2009, and the inevitable negotiations that will follow COP 15."[1]

Participation invitation

"1. Invited keynote talks that:"
a. provide state of the art assessments of the impacts of 4+°C climate change for a range of human, ecological and earth systems."
b. reframe the mitigation challenge in terms of steps necessary to avoid the significant risk of a 4-5 degree warming under different emissions reduction scenarios and the options open to enable a clear avoidance of such a risk."
2. Open call for oral and poster papers in the above themes, with a focus on regional examples that complement keynote topics."[1]

Collated links to conference media and post-conference publications

Because the conference records are scattered among three websites,[1][4][5] links to them are collated here along with WikiPedia listings for the authors. For a few presenters the materials are incomplete or absent. Bulleted items are presentations. References to post-conference papers in the Royal Society's special issue are indented, with names of the co-authors who were conference presenters in bold.


Preface (to the special issue): Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:4-5; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0304.
Introduction (to the special issue): Mark New, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroder, and Kevin Anderson. [1] Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications.] Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:6-19; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0303.
Richard A. Betts, Matthew Collins, Deborah L. Hemming, Chris D. Jones, Jason A. Lowe, and Michael G. Sanderson. When could global warming reach 4°C? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:67-84; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0292.
M. G. Sanderson, D. L. Hemming, and R. A. Betts. Regional temperature and precipitation changes under high-end (=4°C) global warming. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:85-98; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0283


Philip K. Thornton, Peter G. Jones, Polly J. Ericksen, and Andrew J. Challinor. Agriculture and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa in a 4°C+ world. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:117-136; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0246.
  • Dr Reimund Rotter, MTT Agrifood Research Finland. What would happen to barley production in Finland if global temperature increases above 4+°C? | Slides |Audio | MP4 video (136 MB) |
  • Mr Rasack Nayamuth, Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute. 4+ oC: A Drastic reduction in the renewable energy potential of sugarcane. | Slides | Audio | MP4 video (151 MB) |


  • Dr Fai Fung, Tyndall Centre, University of Oxford. Risked posed to global water availability by a 4+°C climate change. | Slides | MP4 video (145 MB) |
Fai Fung, Ana Lopez, and Mark New. Water availability in +2°C and +4°C worlds. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:99-116; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0293.
  • Dr Matthew Charlton, Walker Institute. Limits to adaptation: implications of global temperature changes beyond 4+°C for water supply in southern England | Slides |


  • Prof Yadvinder Malhi, Env. Change Inst., School of Geography and the Env., University of Oxford. Tropical forests in a 4+°C world. | Slides | Audio | MP4 video (227 MB) |
Przemyslaw Zelazowski, Yadvinder Malhi, Chris Huntingford, Stephen Sitch, and Joshua B. Fisher. Changes in the potential distribution of humid tropical forests on a warmer planet. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:137-160; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0238. (Subscription). | Abstract |Data Supplement |


Robert J. Nicholls, Natasha Marinova, Jason A. Lowe, Sally Brown, Pier Vellinga, Diogo de Gusmão, Jochen Hinkel, and Richard S. J. Tol. [http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/161.full.pdf+html Sea-level rise and its possible impacts given a

beyond 4°C world in the twenty-first century.] Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:161-181; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0291 (Subscription) | Abstract |


François Gemenne. Climate-induced population displacements in a 4°C+ world. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:182-195; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0287. (Subscription) | Abstract |


  • 4°C of climate change: alarmist or realist? | " Audio | Moderator: Prof Diana Liverman. Panelists: Mark_Lynas (author), Dr Kevin_Anderson_(scientist) (Dir. Tyndall Centre), Dr Chris West (Dir. UK Climate Impact Progamme), Ian Noble (Climate Advisor The World Bank), and James Painter (Reuters).


Mark Stafford Smith, Lisa Horrocks, Alex Harvey, and Clive Hamilton. Rethinking adaptation for a 4°C world. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:196-216; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0277.


  • Dr Jason Lowe, The Met Office. 4+°C: the emissions reduction challenge. | (no media available) |
Niel H. A. Bowerman, David J. Frame, Chris Huntingford, Jason A. Lowe, and Myles R. Allen. Cumulative carbon emissions, emissions floors and short-term rates of warming: implications for policy. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:45-66; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0288. (Subscription) | Abstract |


  • Prof Kevin_Anderson_(scientist), Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Global emission pathways: balancing Annex 1 mitigation with non-Annex 1 development. | Slides | Audio | MP4 video (216 MB) |
Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows. Beyond ‘dangerous’ climate change: emission scenarios for a new world. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:20-44; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0290.
  • Dr Hari Dulal, The World Bank. Greenhouse Gas Contributions and Mitigation Potential of Agriculture: Creating Incentives within the Existing Carbon Trading Agreements. | Slides | Audio | MP4 video (100 MB) |

Additional papers from the Royal Society special issue

  • David Garner. Editorial. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A January 13, 2011 369:3; doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0289.

Poster Sessions


water resources in south east England.]


  • Mr. Przemyslaw Zelazowski, University of Oxford. The influence of variation in climate simulations on the simulated response of tropical forests to a global 4 degrees warming.


Adaptive Coping Strategies in a 4+°C World.


  • Mr. Markus Hageman, Ecofys GmbH. The role of sectoral characteristics in designing mechanism for participation of developing countries.
  • Dr. Jasper Knight, Univ. of Exeter. Landscape responses to future climate change in glaciated mountains.

Applications of pattern scaling for probabilistic assessment of regional climate impacts.

2011 Follow up event: "Four Degrees Or More? Australia in a Hot World"

A related, second large conference, Four Degrees Or More? Australia in a Hot World was held on 12-14 July 2011 at the University of Melbourne, Australia.[7][8] The conference:

"... explores the unintended consequences of current domestic and international climate policies. It invites us to imagine the social, economic and ecological implications of catastrophic global warming for Australia and its region. The international community has agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Yet the Copenhagen pledges to cut emissions will, if honoured collectively, result in average warming of 4 degrees or more. So what might Australia look like then?"[9]

As with the earlier conference, multimedia and pdf files of the presentations and keynote addresses are posted on the conference website.[10]

The conference organiser was Dr Peter Christoff. Prof. John Schellnhuber, Potsdam Inst. for Climate Impact research (PIK) was again a keynote speaker, along with Prof. Ross Garnaut.[11] The event was disrupted by anti-environmental protesters.[citation needed]

Presenters:[12] Dr Karl Braganza, Prof. Jon Barnett, Assoc. Prof. Peter Christoff, Prof. Robyn Eckersley, Prof. Ross Garnaut, Prof. David Griggs, Andrew Hewett, Prof. Ove Hoegh Guldberg, Dr Mark Howden, Prof. Lesley Hughes, Prof. David Karoly, Prof. Jan Mcdonald, Assoc. Prof. Phil Mcmanus, Prof. Tony Mcmichael, Prof. Malte Meinshausen, Prof. Jean Palutikof, Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Anna Skarbek, Prof. Will Steffen, And Dr Penny Whetton.


  1. ^ a b c d 4 Degrees and Beyond International Climate Conference, Implications of a Global Climate Change of 4+ Degrees for People, Ecosystems and the Earth-system, University of Oxford, 28-29 Sept. 2009.
  2. ^ Official conference website [http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php Programme, abstracts, presentations, and audio recordings.]
  3. ^ Linked list of news stories.
  4. ^ a b Presentation videos
  5. ^ a b New, M.; et al. (2011)'Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications 369:1934.
  6. ^ U.S. News & World Report. 2010, 3 Dec., by Janet Raloff. World Could Heat Up 4 Degrees C in 50 Years: Immediate action needed to hold warming to half that, scientists calculate
  7. ^ Conference homepage: Four Degrees or More? Australia in a Hot World
  8. ^ Hudson M (2011). Facing the heat. Nature Clim. Change. 1:6, 282-284. Sept. 2011.
  9. ^ About the Conference webpage.
  10. ^ Presentations from: Four Degrees or More? Australia in a Hot World
  11. ^ Program for Four Degrees or More? Australia in a Hot World
  12. ^ List of speakers, including their qualifications. Four Degrees or More? Australia in a Hot World conference website.

External links

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