Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Spy in sky measures cattle methane

Canadian scientists have been able to use satellites to measure methane emissions from cattle feedlots.

Canada’s GHGSat recorded five emissions in February. If the emissions from a cattle feedlot near Bakersfield, Calif., were sustained for a year, the cows would release 5,116 tons of gas, or enough to power 15,402 homes, the Montreal-based company said. 

“This has not been done at an individual facility scale for the agriculture sector, as far as we know,” Brody Wright, sales director at GHGSat, told Bloomberg news agency. “The idea is that we need to measure before you can take real positive action.”

GHGSat has three high-resolution satellites in orbit, previously used to measure emissions from open-pit coal mines. Satellites could be used to show changes in emissions over time, letting farms test the impact of differing diets on methane emissions from cows, Wright told CNN. 

A panel of United Nations-supported scientists said recently that global methane emissions need to be cut by a third by 2030 to slow climate change.