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Climate science: Vast costs of Arctic change

Climate science: Vast costs of Arctic change. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hop & Peter Wadhams. Nature 499, 401–403 doi:10.1038/499401a

“Unlike the loss of sea ice, the vulnerability of polar bears and the rising human population, the economic impacts of a warming Arctic are being ignored. Most economic discussion so far assumes that opening up the region will be beneficial. The Arctic is thought to be home to 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13% of its undiscovered oil, and new polar shipping routes would increase regional trade The insurance market Lloyd’s of London estimates that investment in the Arctic could reach US$100 billion within ten years. The costliness of environmental damage from development is recognized by some, such as Lloyd’s and the French oil giant Total, and the dangers of Arctic oil spills are the subject of a current panel investigation by the US National Research Council. What is missing from the equation is a worldwide perspective on Arctic change. Economic modelling of the resulting impacts on the world’s climate, in particular, has been scant.”

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