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“When a measure becomes a target, it becomes a phenomenally better measure.” - Goodhart’s Law, early draft.
Germany’s Umweltbundesamt (UBA) or otherwise known in English as Federal Environment Agency, led literally by a Professor of Political Science1 released some preliminary figures on how much natural gas has been released from the now severed Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines. They estimate that when all is finished - as in all the natural gas in the under-sea portions of both NS1 and NS2 are set to be released into the ocean.
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The title of their press release translates to the catastrophic phrase “Leaks in Nord Stream 1 and 2 lead to significant climate damage.”
But the copy of the release reveals some much needed context.
UBA, presumably doing only the most precise of calculations2, “estimates" 300,000 metric tons (MT) of methane is/was released from both pipelines. The unit used commonly in the climate
change crisis domain is the metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT of CO2e) and the magic multiplier to convert methane, which has a far greater greenhouse warming ability than CO2, is 25.
So, math… .3 million MT CH4 equals 7.5 million MT of CO2e.
But will it, as the translation says, “lead to significant climate change?”
Well, uh probably not. UBA admit that’s about one percent of Germany’s annual CO2 output. We’re not sure if that counts all the new coal they’ve recommissioned lately of not.
Presumably China’s coal power stations used just to produce the world’s polysilicon for solar panels probably burps that much carbon in a few days.
UBA also admit the following:
The emissions are assigned in the climate reporting depending on the exact territory in which the leaks are located. If the leaks are on Danish territory, Denmark must report the emissions. However, if they are in international waters, the emissions are not recorded in any emissions reports, but remain just as harmful to the climate.
So how can Germany and Denmark fix this? With Bitc….nvm.
The wonderfully serious climate innovators in California, particularly down south at the state’s end in San Diego, have in their Climate Action Plan. As longtime readers recall from America’s Finest Magical Thinking, an effort to install traffic roundabouts is part of their plan to get the city to net zero.
Doin’ the math, installing 33 roundabouts by 2035 is supposed to, according to The Science™ reduce roughly 3500 MT of CO2e. Ignoring pesky nuances like the carbon output of concrete and the diesel machinery required to construct such things, we calculate that in order to make up for the horrific climate catastrophe enhancer that is the leak of the Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines, a total of 2,109 roundabouts would need to be constructed.
So let’s get to it!
Not to be out-done by neighboring Belgium’s Energy Ministry being lead by a someone with an African Studies degree.
Based on hilariously round numbers: “The basis for the calculation is the approximate length of the tubes of 1250 km, the diameter of approx. 1.1 metres, a pressure of 100 bar and a temperature of 10 degrees. Of the four tubes, three tubes were filled.”