Arctic meltdown to cost global economy $60 trillion


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Arctic meltdown to cost global economy $60 trillion

The melting Arctic is now being called an "economic time bomb". Economic modelling shows methane emissions caused by shrinking sea ice from just one area of the Arctic could come with a global price tag of $60 trillion — the size of the world economy in 2012.

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 the release of even a small proportion of these reserves could trigger possibly catastrophic climate change.

"The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb," says Gail Whiteman, a professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Erasmus University in Rotterdam , the Netherlands. "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."

The research also explored the impact of a number of later, longer-lasting or smaller pulses of methane, and the authors write that, in all these cases, the economic cost for physical changes to the Arctic is "steep".

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