Billions of tons of carbon and methane lie under the Arctic permafrost. These greenhouse gases, once released, will only accelerate the process of global warming and continue to melt the ice. A recent study found that by 2050, four million people and about 70 percent of today’s Arctic infrastructure could be at risk from permafrost thaw.
But that’s not all. Melting permafrost also contributes to the acidification of our oceans. When the ocean is too acidic, corals, molluscs, and plankton have to use more energy to build their shells and skeletons. This means that ice melt could have an effect on a whole food chain.
“The urgency of achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement is evident in the Arctic, as it is one of the most vulnerable and changing regions in the world,” warns the Finnish Minister of Finance. Environment, Energy and Housing, Kimmo Tiilikainen. We need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas, black carbon and other short-term climate pollutants in the short term worldwide. “