Americas, Planet, Climate Change, Natural Capital & The Environment

Google backs global emissions monitoring system

Responsible Business | May 22, 2019

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Internet giant Google has funded a new initiative that will use artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to measure carbon emissions from all of the world’s largest power plants. The system, developed by the US technology nonprofit WattTime, will extrapolate power stations’ emissions from a range of sensor data, and use that to build an independent, public database.

The aim, WattTime said, is to create a continuous emissions monitoring system that will prevent utilities and countries from misreporting their emissions, and to provide policymakers, civil society and businesses with comprehensive, accurate carbon data. Emissions data from power plants is currently very fragmented, and often not up-to-date.

Google has donated US$1.7 million through its philanthropic arm, Google.org, to support the work, and WattTime will collaborate with two research organisations, the World Resources Institute and Carbon Tracker.

“Far too many power companies worldwide currently shroud their pollution in secrecy. But through the growing power of AI, our little coalition of nonprofits is about to lift that veil all over the world, all at once,” said Gavin McCormick, executive director of WattTime.

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