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Economic losses of carbon emissions from circum-Arctic permafrost regions under RCP-SSP scenarios

Chen, Yating, Liu, Aobo, Zhang, Zhihua, Hope, Chris, Crabbe, M. James C.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.658 pp. 1064-1068
carbon dioxide, emissions, financial economics, global warming, labile carbon, methane, models, permafrost, thawing, Arctic region
Under rapid Arctic warming, the vast amount of labile organic carbon stored in Arctic permafrost soils poses a potentially huge threat. Thawing permafrost will release hundreds of billion tons of soil carbon into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 and CH4 that would further intensify global warming and bring more challenges to human society. In this study, we use the PInc-PanTher model to estimate carbon emissions from thawing permafrost in the circum-Arctic during 2010–2100 followed by the PAGE09 integrated assessment model to evaluate the net economic losses caused by these permafrost carbon emissions. Our results show that in terms of net present value (NPV), the release of CO2 and CH4 from circum-Arctic permafrost will generate estimated net economic losses of US$2.5 trillion (5–95% range: 0.3–11.2 US$ trillion) under the RCP4.5-SPP1 scenario and US$12.7 trillion (5–95% range: 1.6–41.8 US$ trillion) under the RCP8.5-SPP3 scenario between 2010 and 2100, which contribute ~4.9% and ~6.4% respectively of net economic losses of global carbon emissions.