Arctic methane 'time bomb' could have huge economic costs

Scientists say that the release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have huge economic impacts for the world.

The researchers estimate that the climate effects of the release of this gas could cost $60 trillion (£39 trillion), roughly the size of the global economy in 2012.

The impacts are most likely to be felt in developing countries they say.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

Scientists have had concerns about the impact of rising temperatures on permafrost for many years. Large amounts of methane are concentrated in the frozen Arctic tundra but are also found as semi-solid gas hydrates under the sea.

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