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14 Nov 2023

New satellite that will track Co2 emissions from space

Amy Power
New satellite that will track Co2 emissions from space

So far, satellites are being used to help tackle the climate crisis, but these satellites are only detecting methane. This new satellite, developed by Canadian company GHGSat has been designed specifically to detect carbon emissions from space, in order to identify the worst polluters.

The satellite will be able to detect emissions from places like coal plants, steel mills and other individual facilities. It will be a pioneering satellite, launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, located in California, it is named Vanguard. GHGSat is a Canadian emissions monitoring company and this technological advancement highlights another step forwards for technology in space, which is becoming a more consistent method of detecting industries which are polluting the environment. The ability to detect these emissions means that the companies who are polluting the environment will now be held accountable for their damage and contribution to climate change.

As well as continuing to build on their pre-established network of satellites which detect methane, an invisible green house gas that has a tendency to leak from small sources such as pipelines, drill sites and farms, GHGSat’s data is also available for industries to buy. Industrial emitters who are aiming to reduce their emissions, can buy GHGSat’s data to help them reduce their emissions. The data is also available for governments and scientists to purchase.

This groundbreaking achievement brings many benefits with it, as Co2 accounts for an estimated 80% of US greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are produced from a range of human activities, with the biggest entrance to the atmosphere being through power plants and other industrial sources.

The data collected from the beginning of the project up till now has shown that methane emissions are higher than estimated, and the expectation is that results from carbon dioxide will show similar figures. This shows how important this innovative approach is, as it will provide an amazing amount of help for the economy and will help identify areas where the amount of emissions needs to be reduced, with the overall result being that the satellites will help tackle climate change.

The CEO of Montreal-based GHGSat, Stephane Germain, commented, “The data collected by Vanguard will help substantiate common practices of monitoring and measuring carbon dioxide emissions.”

GHGSat has also mentioned that, “Satellites monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere currently are not focused on facility-level emissions.” However, the company continued, saying, “The information will help bolster the accuracy of government emissions inventories and scientific modeling and will improve the quality of corporate greenhouse gas reporting for investors.”


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