(ThePatriotWire)- There have been two gas leaks along underwater Nord Stream pipelines that connect Germany and Russia, and thus far, the reason behind it is unexplained.
Climate scientists have already said the leaks have sent an enormous amount of methane, which is considered an extremely potent greenhouse gas, into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Gas has spewed to the Baltic Sea’s surface this week, and the scientists have described it as a “reckless release” of these emissions. If a deliberate act — which some have surmised — the scientists have said it “amounts to an environmental crime.”
On Monday, seismologists reported that explosions occurred near the gas leaks that were occurring in the Nord Stream pipeline. The pipeline itself is located in international waters, but within the exclusive economic zones belonging to Sweden and Denmark.
Armed forces in Denmark reported that video had shown the largest of the gas leaks caused a disturbance in the surface of about 1 kilometer, the equivalent of 0.62 miles, in diameter. The smallest leaked caused a circular disturbance of about 200 meters.
Researchers who work for the German Environmental Agency, or UBA, said that the impact to the climate from the leaks could be equivalent to approximately 7.5 million metric tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere. In total, the agency said it expects about 300,000 tons of the methane gas would be released into Earth’s atmosphere from the pipeline leaks.
The researchers said that methane is much more harmful to Earth’s climate than carbon is. One ton of methane gas has the same climate warming impact over a period of 100 years as 25 tons of carbon does.
While the exact cause of the leaks in the Nord Stream pipeline hasn’t been discovered yet, many people throughout Europe think it may have been sabotage. A main reason for that theory is the energy standoff that’s currently going on between Belgium and Russia, and amidst Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
For its part, Russia has denied any involvement in sabotage, and any suggestions that it played some part in it are just “stupid.”
While the two pipelines that were affected by the leaks weren’t actively pumping any gas when they happened, they both were pressurized. This allow the methane to still escape.
Earlier in September, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline stopped delivery gas to Europe “indefinitely.” The Russian operator said the economic sanctions placed on the country wouldn’t allow it to continue performing maintenance work on the pipeline that was vital.
The other pipeline, the Nord Stream 2, never actually started operation. Germany ultimately refused the final certification that would’ve allowed it to operate commercially, in response to Russia invading Ukraine.
Beyond the harm to the environment, there are real dangers to people and wildlife from gas leaks like this. As Greenpeace’s EU climate and energy campaigner, Silvia Pastorelli, said recently:
“Risks of sabotage or accident make fossil fuel infrastructure a ticking time bomb, but even on a good day, oil and gas pipelines and storage leak methane constantly. Behind all these numbers of cubic meters and megatonnes are real dangers for real people.”