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Private Satellite to Track Carbon Polluters

Claire, a Canadian microsatellite launched in June, is gearing up to take high-res snapshots of greenhouse gas plumes

4 min read
Does it leak? Natural gas fracking sites will be one of the satellite’s targets.
Does it leak? Natural gas fracking sites will be one of the satellite’s targets.
Photo: Alamy

Attention, greenhouse gas emitters: There’s a new eye in the sky that will soon be photographing your carbon footprint and selling the images to any and all. It’s a microsatellite dubbed Claire (clear or bright in French) by its Montreal-based developer, GHGSat.

This microwave-oven-size pollution paparazzo rocketed to a 512-kilometer-high orbit in mid-June, care of the Indian Space Research Organization, with a mission to remotely measure the plumes of carbon dioxide and methane wafting up from myriad sources on Earth’s surface. Claire’s targets include power plants, natural-gas fracking fields, rice paddies, and much more—just about any emissions source that someone with a checkbook (corporations, regulators, activists) wants tracked, according to GHGSat president Stéphane Germain.

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Greg Mably


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