The Trump administration has decided to shut down NASA’s multi-million-dollar carbon monitoring system (CMS) despite carbon dioxide levels recently hitting an all-time high.
The space agency’s $10 million research line into carbon dioxide concentrations has kept a close watch on the planet’s emissions of greenhouse gases, and offered a solid database used by researchers worldwide.
- Countries around the world usually track their carbon footprint by estimating the emissions based on how much fuel they consume; yet, this approach is very inaccurate.
- The United States’ CMS relies on data offered by aircraft and satellites, which makes the monitoring efforts more efficient.
While NASA’s approach is one of the most advanced on the planet, the White House decided to slash its funding. The CMS is monitoring not only the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities. It is tracking the carbon dioxide levels in forests as well and seeks to improve carbon dioxide inventories in the planet’s tropical forests.
Carbon Monitoring System Shutdown a “Grave Mistake”
Experts believe that the shutdown would have a negative impact on the country’s pledges under the Paris climate accord. Researcher Kelly Sims explained that a country cannot fully adhere to the agreement if it cannot accurately measure its emissions reductions.
Kelly, like other scientists, believes that Trump administration’s decision to shut down the program is a “grave mistake.” U.S. officials are now negotiating a series of tougher rules for the Paris deal in Bonn, Germany. The CMS shutdown could prevent the U.S. from building trust with other countries when it comes to carbon monitoring efforts.
The ongoing research tied to CMS will continue to unfold with the remaining NASA funds, but new research has been completely put on hold. As a result, Europe will likelu take the lead with its carbon-measuring satellite.
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