An alarming study released on Tuesday found that melting Arctic permafrost could increase nearly $ 70 billion to the global cost of climate change unless immediate action is taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
"We have technology and political instruments to limit warming but we are not moving fast enough."
-Dmitry Yumashev, Lancaster University
According to the new research published in the journal Nature Communications melting permafrost caused by accelerating arctic heating would add close to $ 70 trillion to the overall economic impact of climate change if the planet warms at 3 ° C before 21
Although steps are taken to limit heating to 1.5 ° C C at the end of the century, the investigated molten permafrost would still increase $ 24.8 trillion to total climate costs.
Dmitry Yumashev from Lancaster University, lead author of the study, told National Geographic that melts permafrost and sea ice "are two known tilting elements in the climate system" that can trigger a cycle of unstoppable global warming.
In an interview with the Guardian Yumashev called his study results "depressing" but the nations of the world have the technical capacity to deal with the crisis.  What is needed, he said, is urgent and political will.
"Even at 1.5 ° C to 2 ° C [warming] there are effects and costs due to thawing of permafrost, but they are significantly lower for these scenarios compared to business like "We have the technology and the political instruments to limit warming, but we do not go fast enough."
Kevin Schaefer of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado – a co-author of the study – echoed Yumashev's warning.
"With climate change, we are conducting a high risk experiment where we do not know what will come," Schaefer told National Geographic . "The most important thing to remember about our study is the greater the warming, the stronger the feedback and the higher the costs for society."
As National Geographic "The cost of heating $ 25 to $ 70 billion contributes four to six percent to the total cost of climate change – which is estimated to be $ 1,390 billion by the year 2300 if emissions reductions are not Better than the Paris Agreement, however, the cost of the current business as usual may be more than $ 2 trillion. "
Yumashev expressed some relief that his research found that the projected economic impact of melting permafrost was lower than the worst case scenario as predicted by previous estimates.
But, as Yumashev told Guardian "We still have a time bomb".