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Orbiting methane 'speed cameras' are catching polluters in the act

Monday 1 May 23 10:30am


Think of them as speed cameras, but for methane. Just like roadside instruments used to identify drivers breaking traffic rules, new powerful satellites are starting to catch oil and gas operators releasing the planet-warming gas into the atmosphere.

At least two dozen high-resolution satellites are expected to be in orbit by the end of this year, quietly tracking the super pollutant that's invisible to the naked eye. Their sensors are able to detect the natural gas component as it spews from pipelines, unlit flares, storage tanks and compressor stations around the world. The images sent back are crystal clear and leave little doubt about who is responsible for leaks.

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