Warming Limit of 1.5C Would ‘Save’ Huge Expanses of Permafrost, Study Says

By Roz Pidcock, Carbon Brief

The cost of allowing global temperature to rise to 2C, rather than capping warming at 1.5C, is an area of permafrost the size of Mexico, according to new research. The study, carried out by a team of scientists from Sweden, Norway and the UK, is the first to work out what the ambitious targets contained in the Paris Agreement mean for permafrost loss. While warming of 2C would ultimately see permafrost-covered land shrink by more than 40%, stabilising at 1.5C would “save” approximately 2m square km, says the new study. The paper, published today in Nature Climate Change, warns that thawing permafrost unlocks large amounts of CO2 and methane, which could potentially be released to the atmosphere. Thawing out Permafrost is the name given to frozen soil that has been at a temperature of below 0C for at least two consecutive years. Currently covering an area of approximately 15m square...