Rising temperatures in the Arctic are on an unsteerable course, even if drastic measures to curb climate change are undertaken, a United Nations report has found.
The new environmental report projects that winter temperatures in the Arctic will increase 3 to 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2050, and a subsequent 5 to 9 degrees Celsius by 2080, changes that are “locked in,” even if nations collectively meet Paris Agreement goals.
These temperature spikes would see massive permafrost melt—characterized as waking a “sleeping giant” in the report—releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere which could “derail efforts” to meet goals set by the Paris Agreement.
Even if Paris Agreement goals are achieved (and note that President Trump withdrew the United States from this effort), Arctic permafrost is predicted to shrink by 45 percent below current levels.
Last year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark study on the devastating effects of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming.