Satellites for Climate and Nature

With data, we can track emissions and hold actors accountable for climate change impacts, yet too often, information isn’t available or accessible. The Bezos Earth Fund supports game-changing satellite tracking and other technology to show how human activities impact our climate and nature.

(Photo credit: Environmental Defense Fund)

Satellites provide a new vantage point on the world. They can document changes to glaciers and ice, reveal land use changes, and make invisible gases visible through data collection. In short, satellite technology can revolutionize how we measure and monitor changes to our planet. And armed with that information, we can hold polluters and others accountable.

We are partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund on MethaneSat, a groundbreaking methane-detecting satellite that once in orbit (set to launch in 2023) will provide a steady stream of publicly available emissions data from oil and gas plants. Its unique technology makes invisible methane gas detectable at a higher resolution than ever before, making it possible to see in real-time if emitters are following through on reduction commitments.

Satellite advances can help us understand where emissions are coming from and who and what is responsible, allowing for more targeted interventions by governments, companies, regulators, and investors. The data also provides critical information on methane leaks and sheds light on how it puts the health of millions who live near oil and gas facilities, wells, and pipelines at risk.

We are also proud to partner with the Land and Carbon Lab, a first-of-its-kind system monitoring the carbon pulse of our planet’s lands, using satellites, drones, ground measurements and AI. Led by World Resources Institute, the Lab will systematically monitor land-use change at the high resolution for the entire planet and document how land use impacts climate, biodiversity, and development.

Using machine learning, the Land and Carbon Lab will be able to calculate the carbon emitted and sequestered by each land use change. As estimates of this “carbon flux” become ever more accurate, these data can play a major role in assessing the implementation of climate commitments and in making carbon markets more efficient and accountable

The Bezos Earth Fund is committed to advancing science that will make an outsized impact on addressing climate, nature, and equity.

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