Google Joins Mission to Monitor Methane Emissions From Space

    Google Joins Mission to Monitor Methane Emissions From Space
    Photo: Ian Forsyth / Stringer via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Google on Wednesday announced a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund to process methane emissions data obtained by the MethaneSAT mission. It will then map global oil and gas infrastructure to identify sources of the greenhouse gas using AI.

    • According to the tech giant, this collaboration project aims to make information about significant methane leaks available to governments and regulators, allowing them to take action, rather than notifying companies who own the infrastructure that burns or vents methane.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    For too long, international efforts have focused exclusively on cutting CO2 to tackle climate change. While doing so is indeed crucial in the long term, methane and other greenhouse gases represent a fast-moving climate threat that must be addressed now. And here lies the importance of this satellite mission to spot methane leaks around the world.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Though reducing methane emissions would be a good thing, the tempting and popular narrative that this action alone is a miracle solution for buying time to address the climate crisis is nothing but a fallacy and wishful thinking. The very idea that methane is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide is flawed because there is no true equivalence between short-lived and long-lived gases.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that there will be at least 10.2 gigatons of CO2 equivalent methane emissions for the year 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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