Scientists issued a dire warning on Tuesday to UN climate negotiators in Bonn of a vicious global warming cycle that will be unlocked with the thawing of carbon-bearing permafrost. There may be 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon locked away in permafrost – perennially frozen ground covering about a quarter of exposed land in the Northern Hemisphere – said Susan Natali, a researcher with the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts.
The carbon will be released incrementally as global temperatures rise on the back of soaring emissions from mankind’s voracious burning of fossil fuels, making permafrost a vast and underestimated source of future greenhouse gas emissions, said Natali. “By 2100 we expect 130 to 160 gigatonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere,” Natali told journalists in Bonn. “That is on par with our current rate of US emissions as a result of fossil fuel and cement production.”
Country negotiators in Bonn are seeking to streamline a draft global climate pact, which is scheduled to be adopted at a UN conference in Paris in December. Delegates however say the talks have been bogged down in procedural wrangling since they opened last Monday. The amount of carbon stored in permafrost, where it has accumulated over tens of thousands of years, is estimated to be about twice as much as that in the atmosphere, she said.
- The Royal Opera House Reopens After Decades Of Neglect: Here’s A Quick Tour
- Tata Sons Rubbishes Cyrus Mistry’s Allegations: Here’s What Happened
- Pakistan High Commissioner denies allegations leveled on his staffer for espionage activities
- Odisha: Villagers Refuse To Cremate Dalit Woman’s Body
- Here’s What Farhan Akhtar Said On Karan Johar-MNS ‘Deal’ Over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s Release
- Government’s Diwali Gift to Central Government Employees, Pensioners
- Bigg Boss 10 26th October Review: This Episode Is All About Fights
- New Zealand Beat India By 19 Runs In Ranchi; Series Levelled At 2-2
- DND Toll-Free: Noida Toll Company Moves Supreme Court Against Allahabad High Court
- British PM Theresa May Says Kashmir Is A Matter For India, Pakistan To Sort Out
- J&K: Students Suffer As Schools Along LOC Forced To Shut Amid Firing
- Jayalalithaa’s Health: AIADMK Women Supporters Continue Special Prayers For CM
- HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle First Look Video
- Fissures Remain Within Samajwadi Party: All You Need To Know
- Big Cheer For Delhi-Noida Commuters, DND Flyway Becomes Toll Free
Natali co-authored a scientific paper on the greenhouse gas threat posed by thawing permafrost, which was published in the journal Nature in April. But the data came too late to be included in the latest warming projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the UN’s top science panel for climate. The team projected permafrost loss of between 30 and 70 per cent by 2100, depending on the world’s emissions trajectory.
The lower estimate is based on a pathway of strict cuts that achieves the UN goal of limiting overall global warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, and the highest on unrestrained emissions. The global pact being crafted by UN negotiators will be supported by a roster of national pledges for emissions curbs, which observers say are not yet nearly ambitious enough to achieve the two degrees goal.
“The actions that we take now in terms of our fossil fuel emissions are going to have a significant impact on how much permafrost is lost and in turn how much carbon is released from permafrost,” Natali said on the sidelines of the Bonn talks.