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Environmental Defense Fund to Launch a Satellite That Will Monitor Methane Leaks

Science
Ocean clouds seen from space. NASA / Unsplash

Natural gas consists mainly of methane, a potent global warming pollutant.


So to help hold companies accountable for letting methane pollution escape to the atmosphere, the Environmental Defense Fund is doing more than lobbying legislators. It's sending a satellite into orbit.

"That will allow us to look at every single major oil and gas facility around the world, multiple times per week," says EDF president Fred Krupp.

He says these facilities often have malfunctioning equipment or pipes that allow methane to leak.

Many of these problems can be fixed, and the repairs often pay for themselves because they help reduce the amount of gas that's wasted. The International Energy Agency reports that companies can eliminate almost half of their methane pollution at no net cost.

But Krupp says, by and large, companies have not taken adequate action.

"You have to monitor this," he says, "and the industry so far has not been monitoring for this pollution."

So EDF has partnered with an aerospace company to build a satellite that will locate and monitor leaks.

Krupp says companies will know where the problems are, and the public can hold them responsible.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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