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Japan launches satellite to monitor greenhouse gases

RIA Novosti

23/01/2009 13:08 TOKYO, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Japan successfully launched on Friday a satellite that will monitor greenhouse gases as part of global efforts to understand climate change, Japan's space agency said.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said that the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite "Ibuki" (GOSAT) blasted off at 12:54 p.m. local time (03:54 GMT) from the Tanegashima Space Center on board an H-IIA carrier rocket. The satellite separated from the rocket 16 minutes after liftoff.

Ibuki is the first satellite to gather information on the density of carbon dioxide and methane at 56,000 locations on Earth's surface, including over water.

The JAXA said on its website that Ibuki "is a collaborative project by JAXA, the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to provide the world's first satellite to observe global greenhouse gasses from space."

"Data acquired by Ibuki will be utilized to learn the 'current' status of the Earth concerning global warming and to contribute to a better future for all mankind," the agency added.

The overwhelming consensus of climate change experts, environmental groups and organizations is that the climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity, which is causing significant damage to the Earth, although a minority argues that the possible impact has not yet been proven.

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