Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
Satellite Launched to Detect Carbon Emissions from Space

A Canadian company, GHGSat, has successfully launched a satellite named Vanguard from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This satellite will be able to detect carbon dioxide emissions from individual facilities such as coal plants and steel mills from space, a groundbreaking achievement.

GHGSat specializes in monitoring emissions and offers data for sale to industrial emitters, governments, and scientists. The satellite Vanguard will expand the existing network of satellites that detect methane plumes, a challenging greenhouse gas to identify due to its leakages from various small sources like pipelines, drill sites, and farms.

While carbon dioxide contributes to nearly 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US from human activities, current satellites monitoring carbon dioxide focus on atmospheric levels and not facility-level emissions. The data collected by Vanguard will provide valuable insights into monitoring and measuring carbon dioxide emissions, providing direct measurements of entire facilities. This will validate existing practices of estimation and improve accuracy.

The launch of the Vanguard satellite is expected to reveal that carbon dioxide emissions are likely higher than current estimates, similar to the findings on methane emissions from previous satellite monitoring. This information will have significant implications in enhancing government emission inventories, scientific modeling, and corporate reporting of greenhouse gas emissions for investors.

By utilizing space-age technology, GHGSat is contributing to the accountability and regulation of polluting industries, enabling them to reduce their emissions and tackle climate change. This development marks a major step forward in accurately monitoring and addressing carbon dioxide emissions on a global scale.

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