We Can Solve the Climate Crisis by Tracing Pollution Back to Its Sources. A New Coalition Will Make It Possible.

Today we launch ‘Climate TRACE’ — a coalition building a tool to track human-caused greenhouse gas emissions from every corner of the planet.

This post is jointly authored by Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Gavin McCormick, founder and executive director of WattTime.

What is Climate TRACE?

Climate TRACE — which stands for Tracking Real-time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions — comprises organizations from the tech sector that have pioneered some of the most-powerful software-based emissions-monitoring solutions in the world, in part using artificial intelligence (AI) and remote sensing. As the climate crisis deepens and our technology advances, we felt the time was ripe to join together and put these resources to work in powerful new ways.

Why is global emissions monitoring necessary?

To move faster on solutions to the climate crisis, we need a better system to track emissions; we can only manage what we can measure. And unfortunately, the current state of the art is a bottom-up system that relies heavily, no matter how well implemented, on infrequent self-reporting by countries and companies, using a patchwork variety of methods. A lack of dependable, independent, third-party verification can create uncertainty on whether the data are reliable and accurate. And the long time lags in reporting reduces the ability to make that information actionable. Countless countries, companies, and leaders worldwide want to solve the climate crisis, but lack the tools to do so quickly and effectively.

How will the technology work?

In the era of coronavirus, we’ve seen that it’s one thing to spot the overall consequences of the pandemic, but it’s far more actionable to immediately know exactly who is infected and where they are, in order to get them medical care and trace the people with whom they have been in contact. Similarly, it’s one thing to measure the global concentration of CO2 and other GHGs, but the ability to immediately trace where emissions are coming from and in what amounts provides information that allows us to act.

What makes Climate TRACE possible?

We’ve known for years that a project like Climate TRACE would make a massive difference in the fight against the climate crisis, and we’ve both been exploring the topic of global emissions monitoring for a long time. But our announcement comes now because we’ve hit a crucial turning point: it’s finally possible.

Where are we headed?

Authors

Former US Vice President Al Gore is the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, and the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of Apple Inc.’s board of directors. He is the subject of the documentary movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won two Oscars in 2006, and a second documentary in 2017, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. In 2007, Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

Chairman & Co-founder of Generation Investment Management, Chairman of @ClimateReality, and former Vice President of the United States. www.algore.com

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