The map is based on recordings in 2015 and has a resolution of 30 m by 30 m per pixel, 100 times clearer than the 300 m by 300 m per pixel resolution of landsat. The map documents that forests, grasslands and desert cover more than 82 % of the area earmarked for the Belt and Road Initiative, making it difficult to build connecting roads. It also found pockets of water reserves along the initiative, yet some of them are overused for agriculture, meaning the initiative has a potential risk of water shortages and environmental degradation. As for solar energy, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran’s plateaus, the Sahara, and central Australia are prime locations for large-scale solar farms. India, Southeast Asia and southeastern China are less favorable, despite having warm climates, because of dense vegetation, cloud coverage and a mediocre solar exposure rate. Next year, China will publish greenhouse gas data collected from the recently launched Fengyun 3D meteorological satellite, contributing more to the global effort in combating climate change.

CAS news release, November 22, 2017