Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost, snow and sea ice

Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost, snow and sea ice

Wednesday 3 July 2019, 4:00pm to 5:00pm


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Event Details

Carbon released into the atmosphere by the increasing loss of Arctic permafrost, combined with higher solar absorption by the Earth’s surface due to the melting of sea ice and land snow, will accelerate climate change – and have a multi-trillion dollar impact on the world economy.

In this lecture, Dr. Dmitry Yumashev will present his latest work on global implications of the warming in the Arctic region under future climate scenarios, characterised by the loss of the permafrost, snow and sea ice covers.

The results of the study revealed that under mitigation levels consistent with current national pledges to cut carbon emissions (around 3C in 2100), accounting for the nonlinear Arctic feedbacks has the potential to increase the long-term economic impact of climate change by just under $70 trillion relative to earlier estimates. This amounts to 5% of the estimated total cost of climate change for this scenario ($1400 trillion). Under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Paris Agreement target of global temperature rises being limited to 1.5C from pre-industrial levels, the extra impact drops to $25 trillion (4% of the total cost for this scenario, $600 trillion).

The study was published in Nature Communications last month and generated extensive publicity, including articles in National Geographic, The Guardian, Daily Mail, The Sun, The Times of India, Ria Novosti, Scientific American, New York Post, Fox News and World Economic Forum. It was also mentioned by the Lancaster MP Cat Smith as part of the UK Parliamentary debate on the declaration of a climate emergency.

The lecture will be followed by a 20/15-minute Q&A/ session.

About the Speaker

Dr. Dmitry Yumashev is a Senior Research Associate based at the Pentland Centre for Sustainability of Business, Lancaster University. He is a mathematical modeller specialising in Climate Policy, including various aspects of climate science and economics, and has gained experience in the UK and in the Netherlands. While at the Pentland Centre, he has been working on the EU FP7 ICE-ARC project, which focused on investigating regional and global impacts of climate change in the Arctic, as well as on an e-waste quantification project with REPIC UK. Most recently, he has joined the Soil Value project to undertake scenario and uncertainty analysis for terrestrial models, with the aim to help estimate the value of soil services and soil-related risks using model outputs.

Dr. Dmitry Yumashev was the lead author for this study, coordinating a team of permafrost, sea ice and climate modellers as well as experts in climate economics and policy based in the UK, US, Germany and Spain. He combined all the relevant components together in a new integrated assessment model PAGE-ICE, which allowed to estimate the likely contribution of the permafrost, snow and sea ice to global warming under a range of scenarios, and work out the resulting economic impacts.