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Satellites Sweep for the World's Biggest Climate Polluters

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A digital rendering of MethaneSAT, an $88-million satellite project that the U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund is building with support from the government of New Zealand and others.

Currently under development, the MethaneSAT satellite will use spectrometer lenses to detect light refractions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Credit: Ball Aerospace/MethaneSAT

Satellites are emerging as tools to monitor countries for anti-pollution compliance, having been used in the last few years to find previously unreported methane leaks, or to confirm known greenhouse gas emission estimates.

Methane is a priority target, and the International Energy Agency's Tim Gould said satellite monitoring will "provide leakers with very few places to hide."

The U.S., the United Nations, the European Space Agency, and private firms plan to advocate for broader satellite monitoring of emission-reduction progress at next month's international climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund is working with New Zealand's government and other collaborators on MethaneSAT, a satellite that can detect methane emissions globally via spectrometer readings.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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