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Nord stream gas leak impact transcends nations, may cause severe global warming

This handout picture released on September 27, 2022 by the Danish Defence Command shows the gas leak at the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as it is seen from the Danish Defence's F-16 rejection response off the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm, south of Dueodde. - (AFP)Premium
This handout picture released on September 27, 2022 by the Danish Defence Command shows the gas leak at the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as it is seen from the Danish Defence's F-16 rejection response off the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm, south of Dueodde. - (AFP)

The gas leak in the Baltic sea poses a larger threat to the environment than the brewing conflict between Russia and Europe

The Nord Stream gas pipelines leak may have severe impact that transcends the border tension between Europe and Russia. The pipeline leak under the Baltic sea might see severe environmental impact. Three separate ruptures were reported this week following alleged explosions in the Baltic sea. 

Europe has claimed that the explosion were a deliberate move to ‘sabotage’ by Russia with connection to the ongoing war between Moscow and Ukraine. The pipeline shows three major gas leaks on the pipelines that connect Russia to Germany. The leaks have given rise to concern over Europe's dependency on Russian oil

It is to be noted that the pipelines were not in use owing to the war between Ukraine and Russia. How veer, scientists are clamoring to figure out how much of the residual methane gas did get released in to the environment. 

For the uninitiated, the methane gas can cause grave damage to the Ozone layer in the environment. While the Nord Stream 1 pipelines were halted, and Nordstream 2 had never even started -- they all contained pressurized natural gas, the vast majority of which is methane.

The expulsion of methane, comes amid growing public consciousness of its effects on the climate. At the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, over 100 countries pledged to drastically curb emissions.

Why is Methane leak harmful?

According to Bloomberg report, Greenpeace’s European Union unit put the figure to potentially as much as 30 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. If those estimates are close to being accurate, it would be one of the biggest methane leaks ever.

Notably, if the entire stock of natural gas escapes into the environment, it will result in around 200,000 tonnes of methane emissions. Experts estimate that such an amount will have about the same global warming potential over a 100-year timeframe as about 6 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Methane leak from Nord stream- Environment impact

Methane is the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas, exposure to which causes 1 million premature deaths every year. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas. Over a 20-year period, it is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.

“The most direct effect of these gas leaks on climate is the extra dollop of the powerful greenhouse gas methane," said Bloomberg quoted Dave Reay, executive director of Edinburgh Climate Change Institute. “That said, this is a wee bubble in the ocean compared to the huge amounts of so-called ‘fugitive methane’ that are emitted every day around the world due to things like fracking, coal mining and oil extraction."

While methane leaks are harmful to the climate, they do not pose a significant threat to the marine environment, the German Environment Ministry said.

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