Recently, the IPCC gave us 12 years to reach the Paris target of 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming. At the time, I predicted that was WAY too optimistic. The time to get our act together is 40 years ago.
As I’ve said for years, one of the major threats is runaway methane emissions. Blowholes have appeared in Siberia since at least 2012. They happen when the permafrost blocking an ancient methane vent weakens enough. There is an explosion that goes out in the way a misadjusted gas cooker goes out because of lack of oxygen — but the hole stays, leaking methane into the air.
A new study by researchers at the University of Washington shows that the giant methane monster has now awoken. Warming in the Arctic circle is far faster than anywhere else on the planet. This has meant early spring rains, which are melting the permafrost at a previously unheard-of rate.
The result: methane release from melting permafrost has increased by 30%.
Why does this matter?
Methane has approximately 85 times the greenhouse effectiveness of carbon dioxide, but it decays over time. One a 100 year scale, it’s about 25 times as strong. So, the exact impact depends on what time scale you consider: the shorter the stronger. Since we do not have 100 years, it’s on the disastrous side of terrible.
Idiot governments are ignoring the IPCC recommendation of going on emergency footing. And yet, it’s clear we don’t have 12 years. Action must be taken as if our lives depended on it.
Because they do.
This photo shows methane clathrates releasing the gas, which has spontaneously ignited.