Google releases new tool to help gauge and reduce pollution and carbon emissions

Data, arguably, is one of the most precious resources in today's world. And Google is planning to use it to help fight climate change. Today, the tech giant announced a new tool⁠—Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE)⁠—that uses Google's exhaustive global mapping data to help gauge and reduce carbon emissions and measure renewable energy potential across cities. Google Earth Director, Rebecca Moore, wrote in the official blog post that this tool will help garner "new insights, deeper research, and more effective climate action."

Starting from today, the Environment Insights Explorer will initially be available in Europe starting with Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, with Wolverhampton and Coventry to follow soon.

Copenhagen will get what Google is calling "hyperlocal, street-level air quality data" as part of EIE Labs, which will help streamline and optimize action against climate change by piloting climate-focused datasets. The Copenhagen Air Quality Map depicted in the picture above contains figures on the concentration of black carbon and ultrafine particulate matter per block. This was made possible after utilizing data from Project Air View and Google Street View vehicles fitted with scientific instruments to measure air quality at street level. These insights, the city leaders and Google believe, will help pick out hotspots and use those to plan more environmentally friendly cities in the future.

Dublin has already been utilizing the new tool to help track emissions from transportation modes. The Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, Owen Keegan, said that the tool has the potential to increase awareness about climate change in general and inform people about the impacts of the steps taken to combat it:

“Now we can bring Environmental Insights Explorer data analytics to conversations about transportation greenhouse gas emissions and show people the impact of supporting such programs to help start reducing emissions for our entire city which can help inform the debate."

While EIE is available in selected cities for now, Google is working on expanding it to other cities as well to help "create a healthier, cleaner future for their citizens and for the planet." Google has also published a form where ordinary citizens and government officials alike can nominate their cities for the Environmental Insights Explorer to help combat the menace of climate change. You can check it out here.

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