Our Story - Climate TRACE
Climate TRACE is a non-profit coalition of organizations building a timely, open, and accessible inventory of exactly where greenhouse gas emissions are coming from.
We make meaningful climate action faster and easier by harnessing technology to track greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with unprecedented detail and speed, delivering information that is relevant to all parties working to achieve net-zero global emissions.
For decades, measurements such as the Keeling Curve have given us the big-picture view of how much carbon dioxide is in the Earth’s atmosphere. We know emissions are on the rise, and we know it’s a result of our continued use of fossil fuels.
But we need additional information about exactly where and when greenhouse gas emissions are occurring in order to set actionable goals to reduce them and to track our progress toward these emissions reduction goals. Climate TRACE was formed in order to provide this insight on a comprehensive basis across all countries,major emitting industries, and major individual sources of emissions, enabling a new era of radical transparency that will help facilitate concrete climate action.
Until now, most emissions inventories have been based on self-reported, often years-late data that relied on rough estimates, opaque methods, and inaccessible reporting. Government officials, scientists, investors, executives, and activists need better data to support the creation of policies, programs, and campaigns aimed at limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C as agreed to under the Paris Climate Agreement.
That’s where Climate TRACE comes in. We’re harnessing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyze over 59 trillion bytes of data from more than 300 satellites, more than 11,100 sensors, and numerous additional sources of emissions information from all over the world. The result is a groundbreaking approach to emissions monitoring… one that is independent, transparent, and timely.
The journey began in 2019 when two of our founding coalition members, WattTime and TransitionZero, received a Google.org grant to monitor emissions from power plants from space using satellites. The project opened conversations with many researchers and advocates around the world, who started asking: Could we monitor nearly all human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally?
Our answer is yes. And so Climate TRACE launched in July 2020 and now counts nonprofits, tech companies, universities, and former Vice President Al Gore as members.
Climate TRACE’s global emissions inventory, released in September 2021, provideds the first comprehensive accounting of GHG emissions based primarily on direct, independent observation.
Together, we’re making GHG emissions visible. By tracing the root of the climate crisis, we’re working to help solve it.
Three nonprofits receive funding from Google.org to use AI to monitor power plant emissions from space.
The vision expands to cover all global emissions; additional partners identified.
The Climate TRACE coalition launches and work begins.
Climate TRACE co-hosts Remote Sensing Technology Forum with UN Race to Zero and adds new partners and collaborators.
Launch data validation effort by external scientists and emissions experts.
Release of first Climate TRACE emissions inventory.
Coalition member Gavin McCormick gives a TED Talk on Climate TRACE.
Climate TRACE and The Climate Group launch the “States and Regions Remote Sensing” (STARRS) project to deliver emissions inventories for sub-national governments.
Climate TRACE adds granularity to its emissions inventory, with data on emissions by individual greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) and the ability to compare emissions potential over 20 or 100 years.
Climate TRACE releases its first facility-level inventory, covering more than 72,000 individual sources of emissions, representing the biggest known sources of greenhouse gas emissions from more than two dozen industries.
Comprehensive facility-level data representing all major known sources of emissions, as well as monthly and weekly data.
Climate trace Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on our efforts to track greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with unprecedented detail and speed.