Sixty trillion dollars, how's that Steve?
That's an estimate of the costs of Arctic thawing from climate change. That's 60,000,000,000,000.00 and that's a lotta zeroes.
Rapid thawing of the Arctic
could trigger a catastrophic "economic timebomb" which would cost
trillions of dollars and undermine the global financial system, say a
group of economists and polar scientists.
Governments and industry
have expected the widespread warming of the Arctic region in the past
20 years to be an economic boon, allowing the exploitation of new gas
and oilfields and enabling shipping to travel faster between Europe and
Asia. But the release of a single giant "pulse" of methane from thawing
Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian sea "could come with a $60tn
[£39tn] global price tag", according to the researchers who have for
the first time quantified the effects on the global economy.
the slow emission of a much smaller proportion of the vast quantities
of methane locked up in the Arctic permafrost and offshore waters could
trigger catastrophic climate change and "steep" economic losses, they say.
The Arctic sea ice, which largely melts and reforms each year, is declining at an unprecedented rate. In 2012, it collapsed to under 3.5m sqkm by mid September,
just 40% of its usual extent in the 1970s. Because the ice is also
losing its thickness, some scientists expect the Arctic ocean to be
largely free of summer ice by 2020.
We should consider the Harper government the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic of Canada's far north, utterly asleep at the controls.
The growing fear is that as the ice retreats, the warming of the sea
water will allow offshore permafrost to release ever greater quantities
of methane. A giant reservoir of the greenhouse gas, in the form of gas
hydrates on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), could be emitted,
either slowly over 50 years or catastrophically fast over a shorter time
frame, say the researchers.
The ramifications of vanishing ice
will also be felt far from the poles, they say because the region is
pivotal to the functioning of Earth systems, such as oceans and climate.
"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," said Prof Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar ocean physics group at Cambridge University and one of the authors of the paper published in the journal Nature.
Research and the emergence of new weather phenomenon over the past two years have revealed the Arctic to be a ticking time bomb of catastrophic climate change. The tundra is thawing and burning, exposing the methane rich permafrost beneath. There is a new and extremely powerful Polar Jet Stream that is bringing tropical heat far to the north, Arctic deep freeze conditions as far to the south as Venice, and severe floods and droughts that we have no idea how to cope with. In the past week many of us first learned of this new Arctic summer cyclone that churns up many hundreds of thousands of sq. kms. of sea ice and draws in warm water from the Pacific and Atlantic.