Google looks like it’s throwing its weight behind climate change and environmental issues. On Tuesday it announced Melbourne as a one of three cities where it would trial a new climate change monitoring tool.
The Environmental Insights Explorer tool combines data, such as emissions from buildings and transport activity, to help create solutions for emissions reduction and greater climate resilience.
The tool also highlights potential locations for solar panels and other renewables.
Melbourne is one of the cities covered in the initial launch of the tool. More will follow in the coming months.
“The Victorian government has targets for 25 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025,” head of data analytics at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet Brad Petry said.
“Being able to have a look at satellite imagery data and being able to do more with the data from a top graphical view gives us more possibilities in terms of the insights we can generate for our policy makers,” Mr Petry said.
“Now we can bring data analytics to that conversation and show people that the are able to use solar and to generate enough solar to power their entire cities.”
In a blog post, the behemoth technology and search engine company explained that the new tool was developed because less than 20 per cent of the 9000 cities that had committed to the Paris Agreement were in a position to complete, submit or monitor greenhouse gas inventories.
Data that would have once taken cities “months to compile” will now be readily available for policy makers, planners, and researchers to use.
“Google is a company that organises the world’s information. How can we fill in the gaps in climate change knowledge that is informed by data, informed by science, and likely to have positive impact?” Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, Earth Engine and Outreach, said.