Methane From Landfills is Detectable From Space

Apr 9, 2024

Landfill trash is the third-largest source of human-caused methane pollution in the US. To fight global heating, curb waste.

An elusive climate menace is now easier than ever to see. In early March, a rocket launched into the sky with a satellite that spots methane emissions from space. MethaneSAT joined more than a dozen similar satellites now in orbit, scanning the Earth for pollution and feeding that information back to scientists, policymakers, industry, and the public.

What story does the data tell? One of methane on the rise, or one of collective efforts that avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis? Slashing methane is the most efficient way to slow global warming in our lifetimes. We have the chance – and the obligation – to do so.

When we think of methane, we often picture leaking pipelines or belching cows. But trash, organic waste decomposing in landfills, is the third largest source of human-caused methane pollution in the United States.

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