Are Nord Stream Methane Leaks “Catastrophic for Climate”?

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Despite acknowledging that the Nord Stream pipelines were likely bombed by saboteurs, the Associated Press yesterday focused on the ruptures as a climate threat rather than an energy security threat.

The damaged pipelines could discharge up to “five times as much of the potent greenhouse gas as was released by California’s Aliso Canyon disaster, the largest known terrestrial release of methane in U.S. history,” according to the AP. The article cites two American scientists who each calculate a potential release of about half a million tons of methane based on the Danish government’s worst-case scenario. Another U.S. scientist interviewed by the AP estimates less than half that amount. However, either way, “It’s catastrophic for the climate.”

The AP purports to put it in context:

Kristoffer Böttzauw, head of the Danish Energy Agency, said emissions from the three leaks on the underwater Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines correspond to about 32% of annual Danish carbon dioxide emissions. Danish emissions in 2020 were approximately 45 million [metric tons] of CO2.

Those may sound like big numbers, but the climatic impact of the ruptured pipelines is negligible.

The Nord Stream pipeline methane leaks are equivalent to approximately 14.4 million tons of Denmark’s annual CO2 emissions. The pipelines are shut down, so the current release is a one-off event. The State of Maryland’s carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 was greater—about 16.7 million tons. And that is an annual figure. Similar quantities are likely to be emitted for years to come.

Is Maryland “catastrophic for the climate”? Does any sensible person believe a world minus Maryland would have a discernibly cooler climate, fewer or milder storms, better weather for crops, or larger polar bear populations? Does any real scientist believe one more year of Maryland’s emissions—or even decades more—will push the climate beyond a tipping point or imperil the survival of civilization and habitability of the Earth?

Climate alarmism has long since passed the point of self-parody. Were it not for the partisanship of corporate media, the trillions in fiscal and regulatory subsidies for the climate industrial complex, and the indoctrination of youth by government-run schools, the wheels would have fallen off this bus years ago.