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The earth is collapsing under Russia’s northeastern towns as global warming melts the permafrost beneath them. Permafrost occupies 65% of Russia’s landmass, making this massive thawing particularly destructive.
Why this Matters: More than 15 million Russians live on permafrost foundations, and the Russian government could incur $97 billion in infrastructure damage by 2050 if warming continues.
Moreover, permafrost melt threatens not only Russia but also the rest of the world. As the tundra thaws, it releases greenhouse gases. Scientists have referred to Russian permafrost as a “methane time bomb” due to the prevalence of methane deposits trapped in the ice that could be released as the region heats up. Russia is warming 2.8 times faster than the global average, making the potential consequences even more intense.
On Thin Ice
In the 1960s and 1970s, when Soviet Russia was establishing settlements deep in the arctic, it seemed as if the permafrost would never thaw. But now, gas lines, pipes, electric lines, roads, and buildings are damaged as the earth melts beneath them. According to a recent survey, in eight settlements in the northeast Russian region of Yakutia, 72% of people reported problems with the subsidence of their homes’ foundations.
Scientists have begun to monitor permafrost thawing more precisely, establishing 140 monitoring stations across the country in hopes that they could predict and avert more destruction. But for some whose homes have already been damaged, it’s already too late.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Heirs’ property is a type of land ownership whereby property is passed down without a will, and it’s one of the main reasons Black families in the US are losing their land. But the Mobile Basin Heirs’ Property Support Initiative announced yesterday could help families in Mississippi’s Mobile Bay […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The White House announced Friday that President Biden will use his executive authority to restore protections for three national monuments drastically reduced during the Trump Administration. He will reestablish and increase the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, both of which are in Utah. The orders […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan’s largest and most diverse protected area, spanning dunes and towering mountains and home to half of the country’s bird species. Now, the Jordanian government plans to mine the reserve for copper, Al Jazeera reports. The reserve is currently under consideration for status as […]
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