Climate models show that as temperatures continue to rise, many of the predicted changes will be continuations of changes that have already taken place. Polar ice will continue to melt, and extreme weather events will continue to increase in frequency, for example. Diseases that are common in tropical areas will spread into temperate zones, affecting people in the developed nations as well as the developing ones.

Climate models predict the consequences of a doubling of CO2 over preindustrial levels. In 2006, Kenneth Caldeira of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution said, "The doubled-CO2 climate that scientists have warned about for decades is beginning to look like a goal we might attain if we work hard to limit CO2 emissions, rather than the terrible outcome that might occur if we do nothing." The consequences of even higher temperatures are described in Chapter 10.

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