Salient to Investors:

Gail Whiteman at Erasmus University and other scientists say that the release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could cost $60 trillion, or roughly the size of the global economy in 2012, with impacts most likely to be felt in developing countries, which are more vulnerable to rising waters, flooding and the agricultural and health impacts of rising temperatures. Whiteman said the economic time bomb is not yet recognised on the world stage.

Peter Wadhams at Cambridge sees the possibility of catastrophic effect on global climate from the extremely fast sea ice retreat that’s been happening in recent years. Wadhams said we are seeing increasing methane in the atmosphere, mostly over the Arctic.

The release of methane on this scale could bring forward the date when global temperatures increase by 2°C by between 15 and 35 years.

Diminishing ice cover in the East Siberian sea is allowing the waters to warm and the methane to leach out.  Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, even though it lasts less than a decade in the atmosphere.

It is thought that up to 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13% of undiscovered oil lie in the Arctic waters. Lloyds of London estimates investment in the Arctic could reach $100 billion within 10 years.

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