bne IntelliNews - Russia’s #permafrost is melting
A large share of Russia’s oil, gas, diamonds and metals are produced in cities that sit on the permafrost. And thousands of kilometres of roads, rails and pipelines could sink into a bog, while some of the buildings and processing plants will simply fall over if the ground melts.
Russia has 24 regions that are permanently frozen but only nine of those contain extensive infrastructure and cities. However, these regions are key to Russia’s economy, producing the bulk of its raw materials that account for almost half of the country’s GDP.
And that is just the problems the Soviet-era cities are getting ready to face. The far bigger problem which is still largely being ignored is that, according to academic estimates, there is some 1 trillion tonnes of #CO2 locked up in the permafrost – rotting prehistoric vegetation that has been frozen since the time of the dinosaurs. If the ground temperature reaches zero degrees then all that CO2 gas could be released in one go in about 30 years, or sooner, causing an unpredictable climate catastrophe.