‘Largest Ever’ Methane Leak from Russian Coalmine Could Power 2.4 Million Homes

By: | June 20th, 2022

Image courtesy: GHGSat

Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas available on the planet after carbon dioxide (CO2). It  accounts for about 20% of global emissions.

This powerful greenhouse gas is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. But in the first 20 years after release, methane is around 80 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere.

While environmental scientists are making efforts to cut emissions to keep a check on climate change, the largest methane gas leak in the world seems to have occurred at the largest coal mine in Russia. The Raspadskya mine complex has around 220 miles (350 km) of underground tunnels.

Montreal-based GHGSat says that one of its satellites known as ‘Hugo’ has traced the biggest ever leak at the Raspadskaya mine in Siberia in January. GHGSat is a private commercial satellite monitoring company that uses satellites to spot sources of methane emissions around the globe.

Raspadskaya emissions exceed any prior emissions from a single source anywhere in the world

The incident likely resulted in about 90 metric tons of methane being released into the atmosphere in an hour, the company calculated, making it the biggest leak ever detected from a single source.

What will happen if the emissions continue at the same rate of release, for a year?

The mine will emit 764,319 tons of methane, sufficient to power 2.4m of houses.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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