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2 May 2017

New Study Reveals Shocking Cost of Melting Arctic Permafrost


Siberia and Alaska’s infrastructure is at risk of trillions of dollars’ worth of damage due to the melting permafrost which lies below it, caused by the ever-quickening thawing of the Arctic. A new international study of 90 scientists, including US experts, has revealed the true extent of the Arctic’s thaw and the damage it is set to cause.

The study reveals the melting is contributing to already-problematic rising global sea levels, as well as disturbing temperature patterns further south. It’s estimated that in the following century, the melting permafrost below Siberian and Alaskan roads and buildings will cost extortionate amounts; The Independent reports that cumulative net costs from Arctic warming from 2010-2100 could be between $7 trillion and a whopping $90 trillion.

The study, commissioned by the Arctic Council grouping Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, writes:

“The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth, and rapidly becoming a warmer, wetter and more variable environment. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the primary underlying cause.”

The thawing permafrost has been the trigger cause of damaged industry due to landslides at Russia’s Bovanenkovo gas field, located in Siberia. Unusual spring floods also negatively affected and ultimately closed a highway for three weeks in 2015, which provides access to Alaska’s North Slope oilfields.

The authors of the report are reaching out to governments to urge the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. The report has states that those affected in the Arctic “should lead ... global efforts for an early, ambitious and full implementation” of the Paris Agreement to limit warming of 200 nations from 2015.

Yet with US President Donald Trump voicing his opposing opinions on global warming and human responsibility on social media, this could be a difficult task, with Trump previously threatening to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

On May 11, the eight Arctic Council nations are set to hold a meeting of foreign ministers in Fairbanks, Alaska to address the issues raised in the report.


Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.