Vanguard satellite to detect carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants, other facilities

GHGSat, a Canadian emissions monitoring company, on Saturday (Nov 11) successfully launched the Vanguard satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This satellite marks a significant step in detecting carbon dioxide emissions from individual facilities such as coal plants and steel mills from space. 

The climate change crisis is significantly propelled by various industrial activities that contribute to the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. At a time like this, space-age technology is being increasingly leveraged to place accountability with these polluting industries, a Reuters report said. 

GHGSat’s data, gathered by Vanguard, is also available for purchase by industrial emitters who are seeking to reduce their emissions. In addition to this, even governments and scientists can access this valuable information which can play a pivotal role in addressing the impending climate crisis. 

This new satellite is a new addition to Vanguard’s network of satellites dedicated to identifying methane plumes.

The satellite plays a crucial role as methane is an invisible greenhouse gas challenging to detect. It is because of its leakage from various small sources like pipelines, farms, and drill sites. 

With the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the earth’s atmosphere traps heat and contributes to the greenhouse effect, which leads to global warming and climate change.

Existing satellites monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere do not focus on facility-level emissions, according to GHGSat.

Vanguard to validate practices 

Stephane Germain, CEO of Montreal-based GHGSat, highlighted that the data collected by Vanguard will validate common practices of monitoring and measuring carbon dioxide emissions.

“Often what we find is a mix of direct measurements and estimates – therefore having a direct measurement of the entire facility from a satellite will act as a validation,” Germain reportedly said during an interview.

By directly measuring carbon dioxide emissions from individual facilities, this information is expected to provide a more comprehensive and reliable understanding of the sources and levels of greenhouse gas emissions and also check for corporate greenhouse gas reporting for investors. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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