Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Google and EDF Partner to Map Natural Gas Leaks

Energy

Natural gas is leaking beneath streets near you, though you might not realize it.

While the leaks might not show obvious effects right away, the methane within natural gas warms the planet about 120 more than carbon dioxide. Google and the Environmental Defense Fund entered a partnership to track pipe leak risks with innovative online maps. The maps are part of a pilot project that uses specially equipped Google Street View mapping cars in hopes of gauging the potential of new sensing and analytical technologies to measure environmental indicators in ways that previously too difficult or impossible.

Google and the EDF began their project observing natural gas pipes in Boston, MA;, Indianapolis, IN; and Staten Island, NY.

This map of New York's Staten Island borough tracks gas leaks. Screenshot: Environmental Defense Fund

“New technology has given us vastly greater ability to make environmental data available for everyone to see, and to use that information to solve environmental problems by making better decisions,” said Steven Hamburg, EDF’s chief scientist. “Methane leaks are a pervasive challenge throughout the natural gas industry. This is an ideal chance to put new science to work and to solve a major real-world challenge.”

The EDF and researchers at Colorado State University developed and tested the system for two years to the point that it could assess the amount of gas escaping from leaks of all sizes detected amid 15 million individual readings that were collected under thousands of miles of roads. The two entities believe natural gas companies fail to do such monitoring themselves, putting the public at risk.

"Environmental quality is an issue that affects everyone. Making this information more accessible can make a meaningful difference in people’s quality of life,” said Karin Tuxen-Bettman, program manager for Google Earth Outreach. “This pilot project is meant to explore and understand the potential for EDF and others to map and visualize important environmental information in ways that help people understand both problems and solutions.”

The EDF and Google plan on detecting other pollutants and in more cities. Click here to nominate your city.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less