Google Creates Methane Leaks Map, Exposes Polluters

A satellite, MethaneSAT, is scheduled to orbit the Earth 15 times daily, starting next month, to monitor methane emissions from oil and gas companies. Google, in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), intends to map this data worldwide by the end of the year. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for a significant portion of human-caused global warming. The project aims to enhance global climate accountability and facilitate efforts to reduce methane emissions, which can mitigate the climate crisis quickly due to methane’s high warming potential.

The initiative targets various sources of methane, including agriculture and fossil fuel operations, with a focus on the latter due to its significant contribution to emissions. The partnership leverages advanced satellite technology and Google’s computational capabilities to track methane emissions in near-real-time and map oil and gas infrastructure, providing valuable information for energy companies, researchers, and policymakers. The satellite launch coincides with global efforts to curb methane emissions by 2030, with initiatives such as the Global Methane Pledge and regulatory measures in the US and Europe. The data collected will be made publicly available on Google Earth Engine to support informed decision-making and drive meaningful action towards reducing methane emissions globally.