Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Arctic Methane "Burp": A Climate Catastrophe with $60 Trillion Pricetag

New study looks at planetary, social and economic impacts of increasingly perilous Arctic melting

From Common Dreams
Jon Queally, staff writer

 Warning that a dramatic "burp" or "pulse" of methane from beneath the fragile permafrost of the Arctic caused by continued global warming would set off a "climate catastrophe," a new study says that the continued melting is also an economic "time bomb" that could cost the global economy $60 trillion.

Billions upon billions of tons of methane remain stored in the permafrost throughout the Arctic regions, but specific concern has been placed on the enormous reserves that sit locked beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Scientists have repeatedly warned that if these deposits—many frozen in the form of methane hydrates—were released, they would trigger massive feedback loops and dramatically increase the rate of global warming.

The new study confirms these established fears, but also looks at the potential social and economic costs that would follow...

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