The political commitments produce physical results. If you have the state and city governments making pledges to reach carbon neutrality, it should be actualized in the atmosphere, and researchers can chart urban emission trends anywhere. Orbiting carbon dioxide sensors combined with satellite photos will give them what they need.
In the near future when some country claims a city has made emissions reductions to meet obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, researchers will be able to investigate the assertion, even if they aren't given data to justify it. Orbiting sensors, once intended for military intelligence alone, will now empower our climate intelligence. With satellite measurements of carbon dioxide concentrations and urban greenery across the city, and with images showing where people live, and the highways network and locations where electricity is generated, regulators could make a crude simulation of how the concentration of carbon dioxide changes across the city and verify how much carbon dioxide was emitted there. If satellite readings of the carbon dioxide concentrations they see don't line up with the claimed emissions reductions, a closer look might be worthwhile. As climate scientists like to say, the atmosphere doesn't lie. (source: ecowatch.com)
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