Pricing the clathrate gun hypothesis

In this week's Nature:
We calculate that the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge, because the region is pivotal to the functioning of Earth systems such as oceans and the climate. The release of methane from thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea, off northern Russia, alone comes with an average global price tag of $60 trillion in the absence of mitigating action — a figure comparable to the size of the world economy in 2012 (about $70 trillion). The total cost of Arctic change will be much higher. Much of the cost will be borne by developing countries, which will face extreme weather, poorer health and lower agricultural production as Arctic warming affects climate. All nations will be affected, not just those in the far north, and all should be concerned about changes occurring in this region. More modelling is needed to understand which regions and parts of the world economy will be most vulnerable.
Wikipedia on the clathrate gun hypothesis here. For scale, Costanza et al. calculated the annual value of the world's ecosystem services in 1997 at $16-54 trillion, or $23-79 trillion in today's dollars.


  1. I thought it was a bit rubbish. Gavin Schmidt wasn't impressed, either.

    1. And I meant to link to my brilliant posting: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/07/24/arctic-methane-time-bomb-could-have-huge-economic-costs/