An alarming study released on Tuesday found that the erosion of Arctic permafrost could increase the global cost of climate change by nearly $ 70 trillion unless measures to reduce carbon emissions are taken immediately.
"We have the technology and political tools to limit warming, but we are not moving fast enough."
-Dmitry Yumashev, Lancaster University
According to the new research published in the journal Nature CommunicationsMelting permafrost caused by the acceleration of Arctic warming would increase the macroeconomic impact of climate change by nearly $ 70 trillion if the planet warmed by 3 ° C by 2100.
Even if measures are taken to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C by the end of the century, research would find that permafrost melting is still adding $ 24.8 trillion to the total cost of the climate.
Lead author of the study, Dmitry Yumashev of Lancaster University, said National Geographic The melting of permafrost and sea ice "are two known tilting elements in the climate system" that could trigger a cycle of unstoppable global warming.
In an interview with the GuardianYumashev described the results of his study as "daunting," but said that the nations of the world are technologically able to face the crisis.
He urgently needs urgency and political will.
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"Even at 1.5 ° C to 2 ° C [warming]There are consequences and costs due to the thawing of permafrost. However, they are significantly lower for these scenarios compared to "business as usual," Yumashev said. We have the technology and political tools to limit warming, but we are not moving fast enough. "
Kevin Schaefer from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, a co-author of the study, echoed Yumashev's warning.
"Climate change is a risky experiment in which we do not know what's coming," said Schaefer National Geographic, "The most important thing about our study is that the greater the warming, the stronger the feedback and the higher the cost to society."
As National Geographic The "Arctic warming costs of $ 25 to $ 70 trillion" add up to four to six percent of the total cost of climate change – $ 1,390 trillion by 2300 if the emission cuts are no better than Paris Agreement The cost of doing business could exceed $ 2,000 trillion. "
Yumashev expressed some relief that his research found the expected economic effects of permafrost permeation to be lower than the worst-case scenario predicted by previous estimates.
But as Yumashev told Guardian"We still have a time bomb."