THE YAMAL CONSPIRACY
a geo-engineered fabulation
Behind closed doors, the Arctic Consortium took on the challenge geo-engineering the Yamal Peninsula. This document contains evidence of their interventions within the Yamal Peninsula specifically as this anonymous group of individuals got to work, as a speculation on the possibilities of geo-engineering of the shifting environment.
“No one really knows how the game is played,
The art of the trade,
How the sausage gets made,
We just assume that it happens,
But no one else is in the room where it happens.”
-Aaron Burr, Hamilton
In the Neret language ‘Yamal’ denotes “the land’s end”, which is precisely what the peninsula is – an arctic lowland in North Western Russia, sparsely population with burgeoning infrastructure. Yet this discrete land is at once at the center of a multi-front war, one that is raging simultaneously between the Neretz people and the Russian Federation, the land and the sea, liquid and gas, ice, and oil. In recent decades however, activities in the peninsula have begun to run very smoothly, with unnatural changes slowly taking place. The alterations have been deemed by the public to be suspiciously convenient. Yet, why would anyone question the design and will of Mother Nature when she behaves beneficially to all parties?
Behind closed doors, in pursuit of the optimization of the northern resources, the Arctic Consortium took on the challenge of hacking the pre-written codes to the operations of the planet to geo-engineer alternative processes for the function of the Yamal Peninsula. Originating from the Arctic Council, they have been able to successfully remove public opinion from their council chambers, they freely make decisions and take action they feel are economically and climatically beneficial for the Arctic region, including large-scale geoengineering and modification of the landscapes. This document document contains evidence of their interventions within the Yamal Peninsula specifically as this anonymous group of individuals got to work.
Mediator: The Yamal Peninsula's land coverage is a 'hot spot' for shifting dynamics due to development, warming, and increased plant growth (Qin Yu, Epstein, and Walker, n.d.).
Climate change reduces the sun's reflectivity, accelerating UV absorption and warming the earth. Nitrogen availability in the warming atmosphere allows tundra plants to grow larger, requiring grazing to regulate their size (Q Yu et al. 2011).
Director (UNICEF): Reindeer need to consume more vegetation on the peninsula at higher rates to combat climate change (Molloy 2016).
Introducing grazing animals to restore ecosystems, as done in Pleistocene Park, has shown positive effects on land after 20 years (Zimov 2005). However, it jeopardizes existing ecologies (Rubenstein et al. 2006). Maintaining the ecosystem and supporting native species is recommended.
Sergey Zimov (founder of Pleistocene Park): It is unwise to introduce species unfamiliar with the arctic circle climate. Native creatures should be used.
Nenets header: Artificially increasing reindeer numbers disrupts controlled markets (Stammler, n.d.). Reindeer periodically die from illness outbreaks like in 2016.
The 2016 Anthrax outbreak killed 1,200 reindeer and affected Nenets peoples, especially children (The Siberian Times reporter 2016). Livestock grazing in anthrax-contaminated fields can spread the illness to humans (Galante 2022). The 2016 outbreak resulted from thawing permafrost and carcasses of reindeer from a previous epidemic (Ezhova et al. 2021).
Scientist (CDC): We could use modified Anthrax spores as carriers to genetically modify the reindeer, increasing their size and grazing capacity.
Genetically modifying Anthrax spores can create strains that increase cattle size instead of killing them. Helicopter dispersal would spread the modified strain to enhance grazing and decrease vegetation.
Mediator: Today, the council discusses methane on the Yamal Peninsula and the dangers of gas emission craters.
The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region is a major gas producer, contributing 80 percent of Russia's natural gas and 15 percent of the world's total (Novatek 2013). The region's continuous permafrost contains large amounts of methane gas, making it attractive for extraction but also causing dangerous gas emission craters.
Leader (Nenets peoples): These craters are unpredictable and pose a threat to wildlife and people. We must stop their formation immediately.
The Yamal and Erkuta craters emerged in 2017, releasing methane gas bubbles from the permafrost due to melting soil (Chuvilin et al. 2020). These craters are not cryovolcanoes as initially believed (Gray n.d.), but methane releases. Many similar craters have been discovered near oil extraction sites (Bogoyavlensky et al. 2021).
Leader (Nenets peoples): We've noticed these craters appear near dome-shaped hills called 'pingos' or 'bulgunnyakhs' that change in elevation seasonally (Gray n.d.).
These craters, formed by warming permafrost and vegetation cover, release methane gas that further contributes to Arctic warming. Directly capturing methane gas from the soil can capture 82 percent of the gas (Davidson 2020). Extracting methane from the rising pingos before they explode is possible within the craters' 2–5-year life cycle (Gray n.d.). The empty craters eventually fill with water and freeze, stabilizing the permafrost. Using rotating drill systems instead of traditional fracking constructions, gas can be extracted from methane bubbles and the equipment can move on. A separate facility is needed to convert methane into methanol for fuel and export to Asia.
Mediator: The council convenes to discuss the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and its development.
The NSR refers to the waters between Novaya Zemlya and the Bering Strait (Gribkovskaia, Kovalenko, and Morgunova 2018). The arctic and Yamal Peninsula have historically been challenging to navigate. The NSR played a vital role following the implementation of accident-free shipping conditions were established, leading to a boom in trade shipping over the next two centuries. Cargo passing through the NSR doubled every five years until the 2020s, with oil export from the Yamal Peninsula driving increased traffic (“History of the Northern Sea Route” n.d.). In recent years, the NSR has been profitable for Russian gas and oil exports, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas condensate (Humpert n.d.).
President (Russian Federation): "The Arctic provides the shortest route between Europe and Asia-Pacific, reducing shipping costs significantly."
Although primarily facing west towards Europe, the NSR has increasingly turned towards Asian countries, notably China and India. The NSR reduces the distance from East Asia to Western Europe from 21,000km via the Suez Canal to 12,800km (Sharma, n.d.). Russia has become China's largest natural gas supplier, and China plans to expand its "Polar Silk Road" vision, connecting with Russia and Nordic Europe. India's involvement in the Arctic is also growing.
President (Russian Federation): "Developing modern infrastructure along the Northern Sea Route is a major objective... We plan to expand existing ports, including Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula" (Putin 2011).
Sabetta, the port associated with the Yamal LNG extraction site, handles over half of the NSR's shipping traffic, primarily exporting oil (“Sabetta 2019 | Northern Sea Route Information Office” 2020). The port's location provides easy access to the West Siberian oil basin reserves and the center of the NSR, enabling transportation to the East and West (“Port of Sabetta, Yamal Peninsula” n.d.).
Governor (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug): We should follow the successful example of Sabetta and expand our other port cities in the Ob Bay, such as Mys Kameny and Novy Port.
The ports are expanded, with additional access points along the Yamal Peninsula, including Bovanenkovo, Kharasavey, and Tamb.