|Iceberg. (Credit: © kathoo17 / Fotolia)|
Economic modelling shows that the methane emissions caused by shrinking sea ice from just one area of the Arctic could come with a global price tag of 60 trillion dollars -- the size of the world economy in 2012.
Writing in a Comment piece in the journal, Nature, academics argue that a significant release of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have dire implications for the world's economy. The researchers, from Cambridge and Rotterdam, have for the first time calculated the potential economic impact of a scenario some scientists consider increasingly likely -- that methane from the East Siberian Sea will be emitted as a result of the thaw.
This constitutes just a fraction of the vast reservoirs of methane in the Arctic, but scientists believe that the release of even a small proportion of these reserves could trigger possibly catastrophic climate change. According to the new assessment, the emission of methane below the East Siberian Sea alone would also have a mean global impact of 60 trillion dollars.
The ground-breaking Comment piece was co-authored by Gail Whiteman, from Erasmus University; Chris Hope, Reader in Policy Modelling at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; and Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean physics at the University of Cambridge.
"The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb," Whiteman, who is Professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), said.
Wadhams added: "The imminent disappearance of the summer sea ice in the Arctic will have enormous implications for both the acceleration of climate change, and the release of methane from off-shore waters which are now able to warm up in the summer. This massive methane boost will have major implications for global economies and societies." READ MORE