In 1997 the United Nations held a meeting in Kyoto, Japan. As part of that meeting industrialized countries agreed to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gasses are produced by industries and naturally by volcanoes, animals and plants. The excess generation of these gasses through human use of fossil fuels has lead an increase in the greenhouse effect. These man generated gasses act like a blanket, which traps heat inside the atmosphere causing a general increase in global temperature. The results of this has been a rise in ocean temperature, shifts in animal, plant distributions and changes in global weather patterns.
One thing that wasn’t considered in detail was at the conference was the billions of tons of methane gas is locked up in the permafrost in the arctic. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas that contributes 21 times more to global warming than CO2.
The permafrost is composed primarily of partially decomposed plant material that is melting for the first time since it was frozen more than 11,000 years age. A frozen permafrost peat bog covers the entire sub-Arctic area of Western Siberia and northern Canada. It’s about twice the size of France and Germany combined. The permafrost is now melting at an alarming rate.
The release of methane gas from the permafrost is increasing and will accelerate global warming. Unfortunately, scientists can find nothing to date to stop the release of the methane or negate its effects on global warming.
It is all the more important to reduce CO2 emissions to help offset the methane release from the permafrost.
Think Global – Act Local!