Permafrost soils store large quantities of organic carbon and are often portrayed as a critical tipping element in the Earth system, which, once global warming has reached a certain level, suddenly and globally collapses. Yet this image of a ticking timebomb, one that remains relatively quiet until, at a certain level of warming, it goes off, is a controversial one among the research community. Based on the scientific data currently available, the image is deceptive, as an international team has shown in a recently released study. According to their findings, there is no single global tipping point; rather, there are numerous local and regional ones, which ‘tip’ at different times, producing cumulative effects and causing the permafrost to thaw in step with climate change.