How satellites are finding the world’s hidden greenhouse gas emissions

3rd November, 2021.      //   Climate Change, General Interest, Technology  // 

How satellites are finding the world's hidden greenhouse gas emissions

Climate Trace uses machine learning and satellite imagery to find the primary sources of the world’s greenhouse gasses. The world needs achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic global warming. It’s a titanic task made even more difficult by the lack of up-to-date, reliable information about exactly…

The world’s nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor changes over time. Research concludes that each country could estimate fossil-fuel CO2 emissions accurately enough to support monitoring of a climate treaty. However, current methods are not sufficiently accurate. Strategic investments would, within 5 years, improve reporting of emissions by countries and yield a useful capability for independent verification of greenhouse gas emissions reported by countries.

A National Research Council committee is conducting a study on how well greenhouse gas emissions can be measured for treaty monitoring and verification. The committee’s analysis suggests that NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), which failed on launch in February 2009, would have provided proof of concept for spaceborne technologies to monitor greenhouse gas emissions, as well as baseline emissions data. This letter focuses on the capabilities of an OCO and currently deployed satellites that measure atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and their potential role in monitoring and verifying a greenhouse gas treaty.

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