Leaks on Nord Stream pipelines: researchers: methane amount lower than feared

How much climate-damaging methane has leaked into the atmosphere from the damaged Nord Stream pipelines? Estimates are in the hundreds of thousands of tons.

Leaks on Nord Stream pipelines: researchers: methane amount lower than feared

How much climate-damaging methane has leaked into the atmosphere from the damaged Nord Stream pipelines? Estimates are in the hundreds of thousands of tons. French researchers refer to data from monitoring stations and now speak of a much smaller amount.

According to French researchers, the leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines have released less climate-damaging methane into the atmosphere than feared. Data from monitoring stations across Europe have led them to the conclusion that 70,000 tons of methane had been released, scientists at the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA) said. Other estimates would have been a multiple of this amount, at up to 300,000 tons.

The estimated amount released is equivalent to 2 percent of France's carbon emissions, or Paris' emissions for a full year, said Philippe Ciais. Scientists had expressed concern about the climate and environmental impact of the leaks. They also emphasized that the amounts of methane affected accounted for only a fraction of global emissions.

A total of four leaks were discovered last week on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which run from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. All leaks are near the Danish island of Bornholm, two of them in the economic zone of Denmark and the other two in the economic zone of Sweden. Although the lines are not in operation, they were filled with gas for technical reasons. In the meantime, the gas leak has largely dried up.

According to a Danish-Swedish report for the UN Security Council, the leaks were caused by underwater explosions with an explosive power equivalent to "hundreds of kilos" of explosives. Both the West and Russia accused it of sabotage. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of being behind the explosions.

Meanwhile, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Nowak said that the alleged act of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines apparently spared the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Russia prefers. "As far as Nord Stream 2 is concerned, according to preliminary assessments, this pipeline is actually in a technically suitable condition," said Nowak on state television. He offered to deliver gas to Europe through this pipeline "in the shortest possible time". At the same time, he called for Russia to participate in the investigation into the sabotage.

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