Satellite Data Reveals Grim Truth: Russia’s Industrial Decline Worsens Amidst Pollution Drop

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Satellite data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite indicate that Russia’s industrial sector is declining and that air pollution levels are decreasing. It’s possible that the decline is worse than what Moscow officially reports. The pollution levels in Russia’s industrial regions decreased 1.2% in the six months leading up to April and 6.2% annually. As Vladimir Putin’s conflict in Ukraine drags on, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Russian economy is experiencing a decline in industry.

Satellite Data Provides an Unobstructed View

The satellite’s Troposphereic Monitoring Instrument detects gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and methane, providing an aerial view of Russia. Analysts have become increasingly sceptical of official Kremlin data, but satellite data provides an unobscurable picture. QuantCube, a research firm based in Paris, collaborates with the ESA to analyze the data, specifically monitoring the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air, which indicates the amount of gasoline, diesel, and coal being burned.

Diverse Results in Various Industries

The automotive industry, the construction industry, the oil and gas industry, and even the defense industry are emitting less pollution, according to satellite data. In the meantime, the thermal power and metals industries produce more pollution. Adrian Schmith and Hanna Sakhno, economists at the European Central Bank, have incorporated satellite pollution data into their alternative economic data tracker for Russia.

Alternative domestic economic activity indicator

Because they utilize high-frequency indicators from the private economy, Schmith and Sakhno’s alternative indicator of domestic economic activity predicts a contraction in the Russian economy prior to the publication of official data. The housing market, retail sales, and domestic flight purchases have all experienced significant declines. Sakhno has stated that GDP data from the warring nation has concealed the private sector’s decline.

According to satellite data, Russia’s industrial sector is declining and air pollution is decreasing. Analysts are becoming increasingly skeptical of Kremlin-issued official data. Despite a slight increase in urban pollution in Moscow and St. Petersburg over the past six months, pollution in industrial regions has decreased 1.2% in the six months leading up to April and is 6.2% lower annually. ECB economists Adrian Schmith and Hanna Sakhno have utilized satellite pollution data as part of their alternative economic data tracker for Russia, which indicates a contraction of the Russian economy prior to the publication of official figures.

Source: ©SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images ; Business Insider
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