Investigating emissions from above

Machinery at garbage collection center

David Wallace-Wells wrote about the launch of MethaneSAT in this week’s New York Times.

“Methane really matters,” Wallace-Wells wrote. “By some accounts, it explains about one-third of the warming since the Industrial Revolution, with estimates steadily growing in recent years.”

MethaneSAT will send us information about methane emissions around the globe. The general public will be able to view its data, and there’s hope that this will help us identify surprising sources of methane emissions, and shame them if it’s fixable.

But, it might just force us to realize that there are way more emissions than we realized in areas that aren’t fixable. One study found that wetlands are showing increasing methane release as climate change increases, creating a positive feedback loop.

As for what is fixable, Wallace-Wells points out that (even with more information and making that available to the public) action might be slow or non-existent.

“But one of the unfortunate lessons of recent years is that such knowledge of the problem alone is rarely sufficient to drive us to solve it,” he wrote.

– Megan Shipman, Polycrisis Fellow

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