The New Yorker: A security camera for the planet
Climate change is out of control. People around the world are feeling the effects of global warming every day: drought, hunger, fires, extreme weather, rising seas.
Sometimes the problem feels too big to solve, but it’s not. We can avoid the worst impacts if we act now. That’s why we built MethaneSAT.
MethaneSAT’s game-changing opportunity
The fastest way to slow global warming is to slash methane pollution. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with over 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, over the first 20 years after it’s released into the atmosphere. It’s also the main ingredient in natural gas.
Methane from fossil fuel operations, agriculture and other industries has a massively outsized influence on the climate. It’s responsible for about 30% of today’s global warming. But finding these invisible emissions is tough, and we don’t have a clear picture of where they are or who’s responsible for them.
This satellite does what no other can
MethaneSAT is the only methane-detecting satellite that sees the whole picture. It measures pollution from millions of small sources around the world that are a huge part of the problem.
It has one purpose — to speed up reductions in methane emissions as quickly as possible, so we can slow down global warming. MethaneSAT data will be public so that companies, governments and advocates can speed up emissions cuts, track progress and hold polluters truly accountable.
It’s the first satellite developed and funded by any environmental nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund. And we plan to launch it into orbit this year.
No one knows more about methane than EDF does
With more than a decade of research on how methane contributes to global warming — and what to do about it — EDF has laid the groundwork for this extraordinary satellite. See how:
MethaneSAT is different, set to revolutionize measurement of methane pollution and slow global warming.
See the difference
The missing link to effectively reducing methane emissions is the data that will hold polluters accountable.
Our MethaneAIR jet project has been tracking methane in the skies — to prepare for MethaneSAT in space.
Read about MethaneAIR
MethaneSAT in the news
CBS Mornings video: Scientists build satellite to monitor leaks that contribute to global warming
Bill Nye the Science Guy video: What’s the fastest way to slow global warming?
TED Talk by EDF’s Ilissa Ocko: The fastest way to slow climate change now
EDF Vital Signs article: A global hunt for a hidden climate threat
EDF’s role putting methane in the global spotlight
EDF is the pioneering environmental organization that combined science, economics and advocacy to bring global attention to methane’s climate impact.
View methane timeline
Our approach of working with all kinds of partners uniquely positioned us to develop a solution like MethaneSAT.
Learn about partnerships
From aerospace giants to leading educational institutions, select partners include:
- Ball Aerospace
- Blue Canyon Technologies
- Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
- Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- IO Aerospace
- New Zealand Space Agency
Senior Vice President, Chief Scientist
Vice President, Science Capacity and Innovation, Office of the Chief Scientist
Senior Vice President, Energy Transition
Lead Senior Scientist
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Canada Oil and Gas Emissions
Senior Climate Scientist II, Barbra Streisand Chair of Environmental Studies