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Satellite Detects Largest Release of Methane in the World

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Satellite Detects Largest Release of Methane in the World

Climate|One Site, 95 Tons of Methane an Hour

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/14/climate/methane-emissions-russia-coal-mine.html

In January, a satellite detected 13 plumes of methane, a potent planet-warming gas, coming from the largest coal mine in Russia.

The Raspadskya coal mine in Mezhdurechensk, Russia, in February 2021. In 2010, a methane explosion there killed 66 workers.
Credit…Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

A remote-sensing satellite has detected one of the largest releases of methane from a single industrial site, an underground coal mine in south-central Russia. The finding is another indication of the scope of the problem of curbing emissions of methane, a potent planet-warming gas.

Thirteen plumes of the gas were observed at the Raspadskya mine, the largest coal mine in Russia, in late January during a single pass of a satellite operated by GHGSat, a commercial emissions-monitoring firm. The total flow rate from all the plumes was estimated at about 87 metric tons (about 95 U.S. tons) an hour.

“This is the biggest source we’ve ever seen,” said Brody Wight, director of energy, landfills and mines at GHGSat, which was formed in 2011 and now has six emissions-sensing satellites. By contrast, the highest rate measured at Aliso Canyon, a natural gas storage facility in Southern California that had a major leak for nearly four months in 2015 and 2016, was about 60 metric tons an hour.

“This is a really big fish,” said Felix Vogel, a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada in Toronto who is not affiliated with GHGSat.

Mr. Wight said it was not known how long the releases continued at this rate at the mine. But several previous satellite passes had detected emissions in the tens of tons an hour. “We’ve seen a pretty steady increase in what’s coming from this site overall,” he said.

Were the flow continuous at 87 metric tons of methane an hour, total yearly emissions would be equivalent to those from five average coal-fired power plants, the company said.

Mr. Wight said that the releases were most likely deliberate, as the Raspadskya mine, like other coal mines, has naturally occurring methane-rich pockets amid the seams of coal. A buildup of methane at the mine in 2010 led to an explosion that killed 66 people.

To reduce methane concentrations, large fans draw air into and through the mine, ventilating the methane into the atmosphere.

Methane has more of an effect on warming than carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas emitted by human activities. Over two decades, methane can result in about 80 times the warming of the same amount of carbon dioxide.

Methane emissions are far lower than carbon dioxide emissions, and the molecules break down much more rapidly. But because of methane’s warming potential, reducing intentional or accidental emissions of the gas is seen as a way to more quickly limit global warming this century.

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Great Salt Lake. Local politicians and scientists are warning that climate change and rapid population growth are shrinking the lake, creating a bowl of toxic dust that could poison the air around Salt Lake City. But there are no easy solutions to avert that outcome.

At the global climate talks in Glasgow last fall, more than 100 countries pledged to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, although Russia and some other large emitters were not among them.

Until recently, precisely measuring emissions from specific industrial sites like mines, oil and gas production facilities and landfills could only be done using equipment on the ground or in airplanes. That limited the number of sites that could be studied.

While ground and airborne sensing is still conducted, satellites now can easily monitor much bigger areas. Most of these satellites have relatively coarse resolution, however, meaning that while they can detect gas over an area in volumes similar to or greater than that measured at the Russian mine, they cannot narrow the emissions down to specific sites. The GHGSat satellites are among a new generation with much finer resolution.

Dr. Vogel said that with these newer satellites, “We have tools now to allow us to get actionable information.”

“They allow you to really get down to the facility scale, to see specific parts of the facility where emissions are happening,” he said. “You can tell companies where to go to fix something.”

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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