Climate: successful launch for three Montreal GHG detector satellites

Stephane Blais, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Montreal -based company GHGSat, which detects methane emissions produced by Earthlings with rare accuracy, now has a constellation of six satellites in space, thanks to the launch of three new satellites Wednesday from Florida.

At 2:35 p.m., the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, from the American company SpaceX, flew with three satellites aboard as part of the Transporter-5 mission.

Stéphane Germain, CEO of GHGSat, witnessed the lift from a NASA site at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

“It was an amazing day, we were so happy to see the rocket go off without any problems”, Stéphane Germain indicated, minutes after the spacecraft took off, in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press.

The satellites, Luca, Diako and Penny, bear the first names of the children of the members of the company founded by Stéphane Germain.

“They carry children’s names so we can always remember why we do what we do,” said the GHGSat founder, who stressed the “importance of combating climate change”.

“We have several more launches planned between now and the end of 2023, to bring our constellation to ten satellites,” added Stéphane Germain, CEO of GHGSat.

In Montreal, near the company’s headquarters on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, dozens of employees gathered to watch the launch live on giant screens.

“I’m excited, it’s a big step to have three more satellites,” said Marianne Girard, satellite imagery specialist at GHGSat, and added that by doubling the amount of equipment in orbit, the company will be able to “double its capacity, so instead of seeing a place in the world once every six days, you will see it once every three days ”.

With pride in his eyes and a smile on his face, Eric Edwards, chief technology officer of GHGSat, told The Canadian Press that the three new satellites have more powerful detection capabilities than other satellites that the company has shipped into space since 2016.

“We also need more satellites because we’re growing customers,” Eric Edwards said.

GHGSat data is used by businesses, governments and regulators.

Quebec SME prides itself on being the only satellite system in the world capable of detecting greenhouse gases at high resolution, such as those coming from oil sites or landfills. This information is essential for developing policies to combat and adapt to climate change.

List and account for GHGs

Listing and considering for all sources of GHG emissions is a major challenge.

States and large companies must provide themselves with accurate measurement instruments to achieve their commitments to reduce GHGs and the GHGSat is focused on measuring methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Remove the scammers

GHGSat satellites can also be used to “catch fraudsters” and ensure that countries and companies are honest and clear about the amount of methane they emit.

A few weeks ago, the International Energy Agency said many countries under -reported their methane emissions.

A gas stronger than CO2

Last November at the Glasgow climate conference, about 100 countries pledged to reduce their methane emissions. Also during COP26 the federal government announced $ 20 million in business assistance to Saint-Laurent Boulevard.

GHGSat notably provides its data to the International Observatory of Methane Emissions (IMEO), an organization that reports to the UN.

A recent report by this organization points out that methane released directly into the atmosphere is approximately 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over 20 years.

In fact, a study released Monday by the Washington-based Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD) found that reducing CO2 alone will not prevent temperature rises of more than 1.5 ° C. Paris Climate Agreement.

IGSD researchers stressed the importance of dealing with methane to prevent climate disaster.

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