Oil spill in Siberia: Are we prepared for permafrost thaw?

The spill started on May 29, 2020 when an oil tank collapsed near the city of Norilsk, most likely due to the thawing permafrost in the area. Since then, some 21, 000 tons of oil leaked into the nearby Ambarnaya River, polluting the area of about 180,000 square-metre. 

Scientists have studied the effects of climate change in the Arctic for decades, warning of infrastructure collapse, coastline erosion, and methane escaping from the previously frozen ground. With a large share of Russian oil and gas industry concentrated in the Arctic today, concerns arise over the preparation for the further effects of climate change. 

This article is authored by Dr. Daria Shapovalova, a lecturer in law in the University of Aberdeen.

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