New Wave of Satellites Could Pinpoint Greenhouse Gas Offenders

This is huge. “If nothing else, the biggest polluters, and the biggest cheaters, will be exposed. No company, no country, will be able to hide or fudge its numbers. The public will know how to find them.” A quote from the RELATED posting below. It’s well worth reading also.

  • Pressure on companies to disclose emissions is intensifying

  •  Latest sensors can detect leaks from a single well or pipeline

European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite.
European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite. Source: ESA/ATG Medialab

A wave of satellites set to orbit the Earth will be able to pinpoint producers of greenhouse gases, right down to an individual leak at an oil rig.

More than a dozen governments and companies have or are planning to launch satellites that measure concentrations of heat-trapping gases such as methane, which is blamed for about one quarter of man-made global warming. They are looking to track nations, industries, companies and even individual facilities to identify some of the biggest contributors to climate change.

“Space-based technologies are allowing us for the first time to quickly and cheaply measure greenhouse gases,” said Mark Brownstein, a senior vice president at Environmental Defense Fund, which plans to launch its MethaneSAT in 2021. “Oftentimes both government and industry are not fully aware of the magnitude of the opportunity to cut emissions. With that data, they can take action.”

Regulators are taking note. California is partnering with Planet Labs Inc. on a satellite to help it “pinpoint individual methane plumes” from oil and gas facilities, as well as other sources such as landfills, dairies and waste water plants, Stanley Young, a spokesman for the state’s Air Resources Board, said in an email. Researchers have suggested that methane is underestimated in most inventories, he said.

California was the site of the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history in 2015 when a broken well outside Los Angeles owned by Sempra Energy released more than 100,000 tons of methane before being plugged, federal and university researchers said in a study published in Science the following year. The utility in August estimated costs associated with the leak at $1.01 billion.

relates to New Wave of Satellites Could Pinpoint Greenhouse Gas Offenders

Methane emissions from a coal mine captured on a satellite in Camden, Australia. Source: GHGSat Inc.

The information may reinforce shareholder pressure on companies to disclose and reduce emissions. In September, Exxon Mobil Corp. joined the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, which targets to cut aggregated upstream industry methane emissions by more than 20 percent by 2025, and Chevron Corp. said this year it plans to tie executive compensation to meeting emissions targets.

Leaks constitute energy that could otherwise be sold. Oil and gas firms can cut 40 to 50 percent of their methane emissions at no net cost, which in terms of climate impact, is the equivalent of shutting two-thirds of the coal-fired generation in Asia, according to Laura Cozzi, the International Energy Agency’s chief energy modeler.  MORE

RELATED:

We’ll soon know the exact air pollution from every power plant in the world. That’s huge.

Maybe it’s really time to break up the post-industrial monopolies: Don Pittis

Anti-Google statement by News Corp proves it is no longer just a project of the left


Giving Google a shove. Workers move a Google logo during the opening of the new Alphabet’s Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany earlier this year. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Who would have guessed that Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire conservative media mogul who helped make Fox News what it is today, would be on the same side as left-leaning Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren?

Yesterday, Murdoch’s News Corp added its voice to complaints that tech giants, including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, have become too dominant in the sectors they control.

News Corp, itself implicated in the past for having too big a stake in its own industry, took a position surprisingly similar to that of Warren, the U.S. presidential candidate who accuses big tech of being anti-competitive and therefore harmful to consumers.

Hurts consumers, advertisers and publishers

The media company’s focus was on Google, and specifically in the Australian market, but complaints about the advertising search company’s influence apply just as well in other sectors and other markets.

“Google leverages its market power in both general search services and ad tech services to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and news publishers,” said the Murdoch company in a filing to an Australian competition commission. “To remedy these harms, Google could either sell Google Search, or retain Google Search and divest the rest of its businesses to a third party.” MORE

RELATED:
The death of competition

 

Scientific fact often takes a hit on social media

The use of social media is not always benign. Here are just three examples.

Image result for facebook google youtube

According to research almost everyone who believes in flat Earth theory got started on YouTube.

Incredibly, more people than ever believe in a flat Earth. Google searches for “flat earth” have grown massively over the past five years and flat Earth conventions have begun popping up all over the globe. Landrum interviewed 30 people who attended one flat Earth convention and found that all but one became flat Earthers after watching videos on YouTubeSOURCE

Revealed: Facebook enables ads to target users interested in ‘vaccine controversies’

Social media platforms under pressure by US congressman to crack down on anti-vaccine propaganda, citing Guardian investigations on Facebook and YouTube and sending letters to Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai urging them to take more responsibility for health-related misinformation on their platforms.  MORE

A UK parliamentary committee has accused Facebook of being “digital gangsters”

A new, independent regulator should oversee tech companies and ensure they abide by a compulsory ethics code, a UK parliamentary committee has concluded. The 108-page report into disinformation singled Facebook out for criticism. It said the company “intentionally and knowingly” violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws and called for further investigation into its business practices. MORE

Ocasio-Cortez takes Facebook, Microsoft, and Google to task for conference promoting climate denial

Image result for Ocasio-Cortez takes Facebook, Microsoft, and Google to task for conference promoting climate denial
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shown at a political event in the Bronx borough of New York City on June 27, 2018. Photo by Corey Torpie

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) sent a letter to three of the nation’s biggest tech companies on Monday decrying their sponsorship of a conference this month that promoted climate change denial.

“The spreading of misinformation can be dangerous to our society.” #climate

As Mother Jones reported last week, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft all sponsored LibertyCon, a libertarian student conference held in Washington, DC. The event featured a group called the CO2 Coalition, which handed out brochures in the exhibit hall that said its goal is to “explain how our lives and our planet Earth will be improved by additional atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

One brochure claimed that “more carbon dioxide will help everyone, including future generations of our families” and that the “recent increase in CO2 levels has had a measurable, positive effect on plant life,” apparently because the greenhouse gas will make plants grow faster. The group also sponsored the conference and a talk titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?”

Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree, who are both making climate change a priority in the new Congress, were not pleased by the news. On Monday, they sent a letter to the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft expressing their concern that the tech companies are contributing to the spread of misinformation about the reality of climate change despite their public commitment to reducing carbon emissions in their own operations. MORE