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November 28 2012

UN: methane released from melting ice could push climate past tipping point


The United Nations sounded a stark warning on the threat to the climate from methane in the thawing permafrost as governments met for the second day of climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

Thawing permafrost releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, but this has not yet been included in models of the future climate. Permafrost covers nearly a quarter of the northern hemisphere at present and is estimated to contain 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon â twice the amount currently in the atmosphere. As it thaws, it could push global warming past one of the key "tipping points" that scientists believe could lead to runaway climate change.

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