Artcile originally published at Indybay.org: A new report on permafrost slowly thawing in the Arctic creating methane and carbon dioxide emissions highlights an approaching dangerous climate tipping point. There is a huge amount of organic matter frozen in permafrost, estimated to contain 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon, twice the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. And it is starting to melt. With no way to stop it except indirectly through us reducing the rate of global warming by reducing our own emissions.
"The release of carbon dioxide and methane from warming permafrost is irreversible: once the organic matter thaws and decays away, there is no way to put it back into the permafrost," said lead author Kevin Schaefer, from the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center.
"Anthropogenic emissions' targets in the climate change treaty need to account for these emissions or we risk overshooting the 2°C maximum warming target," he added.
The report - Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost (PDF)
- was published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and
launched at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) at Doha on November 27. (See media release)