Do Nord Stream gas leaks come at ‘devastating’ cost to environment?

The gas released from these leaks will add to global warming while marine life could be suffocated, professors have told ELN

Big Zero Report 2022

Climate scientists have warned about the ‘large climate risk’ arising from the gas leaks at sections of the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, told ELN: “Up to 100,000 tonnes may have leaked. This is a very large amount but the whole industry is very leaky anyway and this only corresponds to a couple of days’ worth of global leaks from gas pipes, flaring and old coal mines.

“The industry is making huge profits at the moment; it should be using these to fix the leaks and honour the COP pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

“It also highlights how at-risk offshore energy infrastructure is both from a security point of view and risks from future climate change. We need to consider this carefully when building our renewable energy powered future.”

Professor Jona Cordiner, Head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield, told ELN: “The environmental impact depends on the volume of gas released into the water and of course the corrosion products from the pipe.

“The gas will largely evaporate and add to global warming. This is different than oil leaks that have a big impact on marine life coating birds and another marine life.

“However, any marine life directly in the path and near to the leaks could well be deprived of needed oxygen and be suffocated and impacted by the gas.”

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