need some space

NASA, EPA share plans for greenhouse gas initiative at COP28

A new initiative from federal agencies hopes to enhance access to information about greenhouse gas emissions. Photo via nasa.gov

Two of Houston's top industries are in for a collaboration of sorts, according to a recent announcement at the 28th annual United Nations Climate Conference, or COP28.

NASA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and other U.S. agencies have unveiled the plans for the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center, a hub for collaboration for the federal agencies and nonprofit and private sector partners.

“NASA data is essential to making the changes needed on the ground to protect our climate. The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center is another way the Biden-Harris Administration is working to make critical data available to more people – from scientists running data analyses, to government officials making decisions on climate policy, to members of the public who want to understand how climate change will affect them,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says in a news release. “We’re bringing space to Earth to benefit communities across the country.”

NASA is taking the lead implementing agency position for the new center, which will be run by Argyro Kavvada, center program manager, who's based in NASA headquarters in Washington. The EPA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will also be involved and provide greenhouse gas datasets and analysis tools.

“A goal of the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center is to accelerate the collaborative use of Earth science data,” Kavvada says. “We’re working to get the right data into the hands of people who can use it to manage and track greenhouse gas emissions.”

The center’s data catalog will be available online and target three areas: greenhouse gas emissions from humans, naturally occurring greenhouse gas emissions, and large methane emission event identification and quantification from aircraft and space-based data.

According to the release, the center is one piece of the current administration's effort to amplify information on greenhouse gas emissions, as outlined in the recently released National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System.

Trending News

A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

———

This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Trending News