The World Business Academy has released a 31-page whitepaper addressing a global phenomenon it calls the “Methane Accelerator”: cumulative emissions from massive deposits of methane gas, sequestered for millennia in permafrost, glaciers and marine sediment, but which are now being released due to warmer atmospheric and ocean temperatures.
For at least 100 years after it is released, methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere; and the portion absorbed underwater before it reaches the surface adds to ocean acidification. It is estimated that the amount of methane stored globally in these massive frozen deposits is approximately twice the total reserves of all other fossil fuels combined. The Academy’s concern is that the release of methane in shallow deposits as air and water temperatures rise will in turn cause more warming, leading to the release of more methane, resulting in a runaway greenhouse effect.
In the whitepaper, the Academy traces two previous mass extinction events in the Earth’s history, where the catalyst was not CO2, but the release of methane from shelf sediment and permafrost hydrates that many geologists consider was the ultimate cause of the catastrophic biotic event. The Academy is concerned that we have already reached the point where further releases of methane will outpace efforts limited to merely eliminating manmade CO2 emissions.
June 6 marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which historians consider to be the turning point that ultimately led to the Allied victory in World War II. The Academy selected this date to publish the whitepaper due to the fact that a similar mobilization effort must be undertaken in order to effectively neutralize the Methane Accelerator effect and push the climate back into a state that is sustainable.
During the weeks leading up to this major publication, numerous other reports were issued, indicating that climate change is occurring more rapidly and with greater severity than previously forecast by consensus groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):
- Ocean temperatures are warming 40% faster and Arctic sea ice is melting almost 300% faster than predicted by the IPCC just five years ago;
- NASA recently announced that the Earth’s surface temperature in 2018 was the 4th warmest since 1880, and the past five years are the warmest years in modern history;
- A 3-year study by 145 scientists from 50 countries found that over the past 50 years, the Earth’s global rate of species extinction is at least tens of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years;
- On May 11, CO2 levels reached 415ppm for the first time in over 800,000 years, and on that same weekend, air temperature around parts of the Arctic Ocean reached 84°
The Methane Accelerator paper explains one underlying cause for these events, and what we can do to avert the coming crisis.