Leaks in Nord Stream 1 and 2 will cause serious climate damage

All the methane in the pipelines likely emitted to the atmosphere

Gas bubbles on the water surfaceClick to enlarge
Methane in the pipelines escaping into the Baltic Sea
Source: Danish Defence Command

The German Environment Agency (UBA) has forecast that the gas leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines will cause some 7.5 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents, which is about one percent of Germany’s total annual emissions. The calculation is based on estimates of the filling level and volume of the two pipelines. The pipelines have no separation mechanisms, which is why their entire contents are likely to escape. Because at least one of the leaks is reported to be in the Danish territory, the emissions will probably be allocated to Denmark for the purposes of climate change reporting.

A total of 0.3 million tonnes of methane are forecast to be released into the atmosphere. Methane is much more harmful to the climate than CO₂. Over a hundred-year period, one tonne of methane warms the atmosphere just as much as 25 tonnes of CO₂. The climate impact of the leaks should be estimated at around 7.5 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents.

Depending on the exact territory where the leaks are occurring, the emissions will be assigned to that country for its climate change reporting. Should the leaks be on Danish territory, Denmark will have to report the emissions. Conversely, if the leaks are in international waters, the emissions are not included in any emissions reporting, but remain just as damaging to the climate.

Calculations are based on an approximate length of the pipes of 1,250 km, 1.1 metres in diameter, a pressure of 100 bar and a temperature of 10°C. Three of the four pipelines were filled.

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 Nord Stream  gas pipeline