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Japan launches satellite to eye greenhouse gases

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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- The Japanese space agency launched a satellite Friday that will measure greenhouse gases from the earth's orbit.

The IBUKI satellite is designed "to observe the concentration distribution of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, and to help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions covered by the 'Kyoto Protocol,'" the agency's Web site said.

In 1997, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change passed the Kyoto Protocol with the goal of limiting greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The United States was the only one among 175 parties to reject it.

The rocket carrying the satellite lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan early Friday afternoon, following a one-day weather delay.


"The satellite is expected to play an important role in monitoring global environmental changes and look out for any small warning signs that could affect our future," according to the agency. Video Watch why disintegrating Antarctic ice is worrying scientists »

NASA is scheduled to launch a similar satellite in February.

CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this story.

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