Russian Pipelines Damaged by Suspected Sabotage are Spewing Methane into Atmosphere

Sep 30, 2022

NATO said it will act against whoever may have damaged two major natural gas pipelines. The pipelines connect Russia and Western Europe. Reports say the pipes are spewing hundreds of thousands of tons of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.

NATO did not name a suspect. Nor did it say how it might retaliate if someone damaged the pipes on purpose. Experts detected explosions before the pipes started to leak. Officials now say there are four leaks. 

Neither pipeline is operating now. But both pipelines are filled with methane. Nord Stream 2 has never been used. Russia recently shut down Nord Stream 1. That was after Europe, the US, and other G7 nations put a cap on how much Russia could charge other countries for oil. Those countries are trying to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. 

Poland and Ukraine blame Russia for the attacks. Russia called the claim “stupid.” 

Some analysts say Russia could have damaged the pipelines to put more pressure on Europe. Europe's economies depend on Russian energy. And they're already facing a harsh winter. Damaged pipes could make the situation worse.   

So far, it’s unclear how bad these leaks are for the environment. The Danish Energy Agency said the methane leaks may be about the same as one-third of the nation’s yearly carbon dioxide emissions

A Duke University professor and emissions expert told The Washington Post that compared to global methane emissions, “this is a tiny blip. It’s not a huge volume.”  

Photo from Reuters.

Based on how it is used in the story’s second paragraph, which word could best replace “retaliate”? (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. justify
b. respond
c. ignore
d. remedy
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