Just a few days ago, the Washington Post published a worldwide report: dozens of countries were falsifying their greenhouse gas emissions data. It was the first time anyone had collected all the weird data and provided a snapshot of this massive climate fraud, but scientists have suspected it for years. In fact, they have been looking for ways to know what it emits without depending on governments.
The most powerful tool right now are high resolution satellites. The same ones used by the ESA researchers, the Dutch Institute for Space Research (SRON) and the Canadian company GHGSat to discover that two landfills 18 kilometers from the center of Madrid as the black point of methane in Europe. They alone emitted 8,800 kilograms an hour during August 2021.
A huge black spot called Valdemingómez
To identify the problem, the researchers mapped methane “black spots” using Sentinel-5P’s Tropomi instrument. With that information and that of GHGSat’s commercial satellites, they added resolution to the map. According to these data, the worst part is taken by the Las Dehesas Treatment Center (better known as the Valdemingómez landfill), where more than 5,000 kilograms were emitted per hour that same August.
This is extremely problematic and not only because of these high numbers, but because the cause of the emissions is unknown. Since 1999, there are European directives requiring EU landfill operators to capture gas created by the decomposition of organic matter and use it to generate energy (or, failing that, burn it). To paraphrase Shakespeare, “something smells rotten in Valdemingómez.”
The most striking thing about all this is that the problem goes beyond the environment. According to the researchers’ data, If these emissions were used to produce energy, it could supply about 350,000 households. Something that, in the midst of the energy price crisis, is especially striking.
Image | GSat