Arctic ice will continue to melt even if global warming is kept down at 1.5°C
Even if the rate of global warming is kept down at 1.5-2°C,winter temperatures in the Arctic would rise 3-5°C by 2050 and 5-9°C by 2080, devastating the region and unleashing sea level rises worldwide, says a new report by UN Environment.
The main reasons are ocean acidification and plastic pollution. Furthermore, rapidly thawing permafrost could even accelerate climate change. UN experts warn that by 2050 four million people and around 70 percent of today's Arctic infrastructure will be threatened by thawing permafrost.
Climate models predict that, at the current rate of carbon dioxide emissions, Arctic summers will be ice-free by the 2030s. The melting of the Greenland ice cap and Arctic glaciers contribute to one-third of sea level rise worldwide.
According to experts, even compliance with the Paris Agreement, which provides for keeping the rate of global warming at below 2°C and, ideally, limiting it to 1.5°C, Arctic permafrost will still shrink 45 percent compared to today. This can result in an emission of up to1.6 billion of greenhouse gases (GHG), catalyzing the thawing of permafrost and raising sea levels.