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July 24, 2013
By: Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams

Vast costs of Arctic change


Pipes transport oil from rigs on Endicott Island in Alaska. Photo: B&C Alexander/Articphoto

The global impacts of a warming Arctic could carry a price tag comparable to the size of the global economy in 2012, according to a Comment piece in this week's Nature.

 

Unlike the loss of sea ice, the vulner-ability of polar bears and the risinghuman population, the economicimpacts of a warming Arctic are beingignored.Most economic discussion so far assumesthat opening up the region will be beneficial.The Arctic is thought to be home to 30% ofthe world’s undiscovered gas and 13% of itsundiscovered oil, and new polar shippingroutes would increase regional trade. The insurance market Lloyd’s of London esti-mates that investment in the Arctic couldreach US$100 billion within ten years.

 

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