China demands pathogen fire wall around Urals

Short speculative news article about politcal effects of thawing permafrost.

Permafrost thaw could release bacteria and viruses
When considering the implications of thawing permafrost, our initial worries are likely to turn to the major issue of methane being released into the atmosphere and exacerbating global warming or issues for local communities as the ground and infrastructure become unstable. While this is bad enough,…

The effect of climate change on permafrost has long been predicted to sea level change and introduces the possibility of 'ancient pathogens' being released into the world. The potentially catastrophic effect of an unknown pathogen being released have prompted many conversations and international conferences.

But now China is demanding action. Due to the proximity of the the Russian Ural mountains, which contain a high pecentage of ancient permafrost, China is worried.

While scientists remain skeptical that thawing biomass will release something capable of mass infection and death, China has other views and are demanding that Russia creates a 'pathogen wall' around areas of the Urals that are melting the fastest. This could consist of 'fire-break' areas with no wildlife in them, or walls meant to block the transit of bacteria on animals. Additionally they are insisting that no-go bio containment zones are also created and that exiting human habitations are relocated.

As to the question of who will fund this new version of 'the great fire-wall of China' there seems to be no question that it will be Russia itself that will foot the bill. A recent Chinese executive order on the topic notes that 'As Russia is indebted to China for the post war bailout of 2028 that the costs would be counted againt the debt owed'. The figure of the Chinese bailout remains a closely guarded secret but is estimated by commentators in the west to be over 150 billion US dollars.

That could build a lot of walls and fire-breaks, but with the Urals stretching over 2500kms a lot of walls will be needed. There is also the question of how China would enforce such a plan - carrot or stick - that could place further stress on an uneasy relationship.