Sabotaged Nord Stream pipelines released huge amounts of methane

Leaking gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea have now been fixed, the Danish Energy Agency confirmed on Sunday, but huge amounts of methane was released beforehand.

Investigations undertaken by Denmark and Sweden have revealed that the leaks were caused by explosions, resulting in what the UN Environment Programme called the largest single release of methane in history.

Scientists believe the Nord Stream pipelines, which carry gas from Russia to Germany, leaked around half a million metric tons of methane, according to the Associated Press.

It’s thought this was a deliberate act, but blame hasn’t been directed at anyone specifically yet.

brown wooden dock on body of water during daytime

However, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol said it was ‘very obvious’ who was behind the act at a conference on renewable energy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Western powers of the sabotage, claims which the US and other nations deny.

Methane is a greenhouse gas which contributes to the climate crisis and initially has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, before this effect fades over time.

The impacts of the leak are still being studied, but it’s expected to have a detrimental effect on the environment, as scientists say its crucial we cut methane emissions to combat the climate crisis.

The second largest methane leak occurred in 2015, when vast amounts of the gas was discovered to be escaping from a well in Aliso Canyon in the US.

An estimated 97,000 tons of methane was released into the atmosphere which led to a variety of health problems for people in the area, including respiratory symptoms.

Last year, the United Nations Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) said thousands of lives could be saved if methane emissions were reduced.

Photo by Helio Dilolwa


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