On Saturday, GHGSat, a Canadian emissions monitoring company, launched Vanguard, a satellite dedicated to detecting carbon dioxide emissions from specific facilities, such as coal plants and steel mills, from space. This is the first time that such a satellite has been launched.

The Vanguard satellite was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, according to GHGSat. Industries that pollute the environment are increasingly being held accountable for their contributions to climate change, and space-age technology is playing a significant role in this process. GHGSat’s data is available for sale to industrial emitters who wish to reduce their emissions, as well as to governments and scientists.

Methane is an invisible greenhouse gas that is difficult to detect because it tends to leak from an array of small sources, including pipelines, drill sites, and farms. Satellites are currently being used to spot plumes of methane, and Vanguard will contribute to this growing network of satellites. While carbon dioxide accounts for nearly 80% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, and large industrial sources such as power plants are the main emitters, satellites monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are not yet focused on facility-level emissions, according to GHGSat.

Stephane Germain, the CEO of GHGSat, stated that the data collected by Vanguard will help to substantiate the common practices of monitoring and measuring carbon dioxide emissions.

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