In DepthClimate

Carbon trackers could help bolster climate vows

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Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1450-1451
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6267.1450

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Summary

After negotiators left the Paris climate summit last week with vows to curb the world's climate pollution, officials will want to know whether countries are living up to their promises. Scientists today are in the early stages of deploying systems they hope could buttress international agreements by closely tracking greenhouse gas emissions in the air. Space-borne sensors are watching the ebb and flow of carbon around the globe, and a few experimental, city-scale monitoring systems are up and running. Ultimately, a network of instruments on satellites, commercial jets, smokestacks, and communications towers could deliver a detailed, nearly instantaneous picture of emissions in a country, city, or even a neighborhood: a global weather system for greenhouse gases.

  • * Warren Cornwall is a freelance writer in Bellingham, Washington.