Methane gas now leaking from gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea accounts for more than half of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions in a year.
According to calculations by the Nordic office of the climate organization Greenpeace.
– It is very serious because it contains the most potent greenhouse gas methane. We’re talking about big emissions in the short term, Greenpeace Norway head Frod Flem tells VG.
Gas is leaking from two gas pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and 2, in the Baltic Sea. The cause has not been identified, but many suspect sabotage.
How much methane is actually escaping is uncertain, but a recurring estimate is 30 million tons.
According to Greenpeace calculations, this corresponds to seven and a half months of greenhouse gas emissions in Norway. Norway emits about 50 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, and emissions from pipelines account for 61 percent of this.
– There’s an alarming amount, says Flem at Greenpeace.
– This is quite obviously another climate problem. We can’t afford these emissions, he says, because we have to cut everything, and cut it fast.
Blame believes it is too early to say anything about the effects of emissions on fish and birds in the Baltic Sea and global warming in general.
“Strong and rapid climate effect”
Björn Hallvart Samset, a researcher at the Cicero Center for Climate Research and one of the main authors behind the latest major report by the UN Climate Panel, believes gas leaks are bad news.
– There is a large emission of methane, a gas with a strong and rapid climate effect, so in that sense it is very unfortunate, he tells VG.
The spills are taking place at three locations: two of them are outside Simrishamn in Sweden, and the third is southeast of Bornholm in Denmark. Both pipelines are not currently operational, so the leak must have been gas that was already inside the pipelines when the pipelines were shut down earlier this year.
– If more and more gas is not pumped into the pipelines, the aggregate will not be as large. Climate researcher Samset says that if the leakage continues long enough for one reason or another, it will also have consequences for how fast global warming continues.
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I think Norway is also vulnerable
Lt. Col. Geir Hagen Karlsson at the Defense Personnel School has said that Norway’s gas supply could be Europe’s biggest sabotage target. Readiness of Norwegian gas pipelines draws criticismAnd the police have Wednesday went out For several Norwegian oil and gas installations.
Flem at Greenpeace Norway believes the new attacks will also be dangerous for the climate.
– For us it’s not just about energy security. We are vulnerable to these eruptions, and this can have major climate consequences. This is another argument for a controlled phase out of fossil fuels.
Disappear within twelve years
Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at Cicero, works specifically with global emissions. The 30 million tons of methane gas accounts for less than 0.1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, or 50 billion tons.
– For one event, it is very large, but the effect on the global environment is very small – in terms of global warming and damage to animals and nature.
Andrew says the attack on the pipelines led to a “very localized” release, where some of the gas dissolves into the ocean and some comes to the surface at a faster rate – which is what we see in the images. Now spreading all over the world.
Methane gas is a short-lived gas according to climate scientist.
– Methane is short-lived. Half of the molecules now released into the atmosphere will disappear within twelve years. It’s not like CO₂, which stays in the atmosphere for hundreds, even thousands, of years.
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