REPORT – In the northeast, where the temperature can drop below -50 degrees, global warming is worrying. The melting of permafrost is already having major consequences for the lives of the population and the economy of the region.
Special envoy to Yakutsk
“From the airport, I felt the shock …” It’s like in Nougaro’s song, but much, much colder. The thermometer reads minus 45 below zero. Welcome to Yakutsk, – 330,000 inhabitants -, considered the coldest big city in the world. We suffocate a little, crystals instantly invade the nostrils, the legs go numb. At 7 am, the day is far from rising, we will barely see it before the city plunges into night, shortly after 3 pm. Sometimes the sun breaks through the white sky – “a pale candle in the freezer”, Sylvain Tesson observed in these columns. The writer also noted what strikes you from the start when you land here, six time zones from Moscow. : “Trees, electric wires, lampposts, everything is sheathed in hoarfrost.”
Permanent fog, thick swirls of white vapor released by cars, Yakutsk looks like an icy furnace, a polar oven… At the bus stops,
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