TAMPA, Fla. — French satellite imagery analysis provider Kayrros launched a free version of its global methane tracking map Nov. 29 to help hold governments and businesses to account for their emissions.

The public platform uses data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite and a sensor on the International Space Station to provide daily snapshots of the greenhouse gas, a major cause of global warming.

The map shows 5,645 methane super-emitters worldwide, or sources that release the gas at a significantly higher rate than is typical. Of these, 3,320 are from oil and gas, 874 from coal, and 1,451 from waste and agriculture.

Among the big offenders is the Amman landfill in Jordan that Kayrros says produces as much greenhouse gas a year as 450,000 cars, despite investment from the European Union to improve gas capture and electricity generation.

Kayrros is calling for an outright ban on super-emitters, saying rapid cuts in methane emissions from fossil fuels alone would have the same effect on curtailing rising temperatures as taking all cars and trucks off the road. 

Reducing major methane emissions would be a relatively easy way to tackle climate change, according to Kayrros president and co-founder Antoine Rostand.

The methane map comes on the eve of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, which will see diplomats discuss measures in Dubai between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12 for limiting global warming.

“With COP28 on the horizon, and methane reduction as a key focus of the conference, we are taking advantage of increased public awareness of and interest in this devastating greenhouse gas,” Rostand said.

The company also provides access to data from other satellites that is exclusively available through commercial agreements, in addition to more granular analysis as part of paid studies, such as on countries, cities, and individual fields.

The United Nations Environment Program’s International Methane Emissions Observatory is among the organizations using satellite imagery analysis from Kayrros.

Kayrros and others using spacecraft to track greenhouse gas emissions — including those with their own satellites in orbit, such as Canada’s GHGSat, also aim to empower institutions, businesses, and investors to scrutinize emissions reporting.

Businesses are increasingly detailing their emissions voluntarily as part of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures to attract investors and customers.

Kayrros says its publicly available methane tracking map will support efforts to verify these reports, tackling greenwashing concerns that have held back the ESG movement.

Bogdan Gogulan, CEO of private equity firm and Kayrros investor NewSpace Capital, called on diplomats attending COP28 to show how hard empirical data will be used to facilitate the growth, investment, and financial instruments needed to support climate and sustainability technologies.

“Investors are focused on actionable outcomes from COP28, particularly in the realm of ESG,” Gogulan said.

“We want to see a commitment to the use of precise, traceable, and auditable data, which is the basis of all effective climate action. Data fosters accountability and responsibility and thus drives meaningful progress.”

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...