Published on Jan 18, 2018
Permafrost refers to frozen soil and water that covers nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere. With climate change warming the Arctic at an alarming rate, the permafrost is beginning to thaw. While this phenomenon can wreak havoc on infrastructure and transportation in places like Northern Alaska and Siberia, the real danger is the release of carbon and methane gas. There are more greenhouse gases trapped in these deep layers of permafrost than all human fossil fuel emissions released since the industrial age. Due to permafrost thaw, that trapped carbon is starting to escape into the atmosphere, creating a warming feedback loop that will make climate change even worse, and cause the permafrost to thaw even faster.
If this continues unchecked, scientists warn we could be on the verge of awakening ” the sleeping giant” of climate change. But some innovative climate pioneers are changing that. With the use of both cutting edge genetics, and an experiment that relies on geo-engineering, there is hope that the permafrost thaw can be slowed. VICE Correspondent, Ben Anderson, travels across the Arctic to see the devastating impact of thawing permafrost, and the astonishing solution that might keep it frozen.