Greenhouse emissions from permafrost

The impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels could be the mere tip of a much more insidious iceberg, if ironically enough, the permafrost that covers almost a fourth of the Northern hemisphere melts. This permafrost contains 1700 gigatonnes of carbon, twice that currently present in the atmosphere. According to a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) this has not been taken into account in climate change models and could significantly amplify global warming should thawing accelerate as anticipated in coming years. Permafrost is one of the keys to the planet's future because it contains large stores of frozen organic matter that, if thawed and released into the atmosphere, would amplify current global warming and propel us to a warmer world, said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.