How a New Effort to Trace Emissions, Led by Al Gore, Could Reshape Climate Talks

"As countries entered the final months of talks ahead of the Paris Agreement in 2015, China offered a big revelation: the country had burned substantially more coal than it had previously acknowledged in the preceding years.

Many diplomats took the voluntary acknowledgment as a sign of good faith. Nonetheless, the update underscored the broader challenges that climate change activists face when it comes to data collection. Historically, there’s been no way for third parties to directly gather data on the greenhouse gas emissions of both public and private entities, and so any concerted effort to reduce emissions has required trusting companies and governments to tell the truth about how much they’re polluting.

Now, a new coalition of nine climate and technology organizations calling themselves Climate Trace say they have used satellite data, artificial intelligence and other technology to track greenhouse-gas emissions from across the globe remotely. At the micro level, the platform allows users to track emissions down to the level of individual factories, ships and power plants. In aggregate, the platform will allow for a collective accounting of the how the world is doing in the effort to reduce emissions."

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