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Our Story - Climate TRACE

Our Story

Climate TRACE is a coalition of organizations building a timely, open, and accessible accounting of exactly where greenhouse gas emissions are coming from.

Our goal

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.

Our Vision

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 emissions are occurring in order to set actionable goals to reduce them and to track our progress toward these emissions reduction goals. Climate TRACE formed in order to provide this insight on a comprehensive basis across all countries and major emitting industries, enabling a new era of radical transparency that will help to 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 reportings. Government officials, scientists, investors, executives, and activists need better data to support the creation of policies 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), 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 received a grant to use satellites 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 coalition launched in July 2020 and now counts 11 nonprofits, tech companies, universities, and former Vice President Al Gore as members.

With our first data release in September 2021, we are providing 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.

Our Roadmap

Our work builds upon recent advances in satellite observation and artificial intelligence that are enabling breakthroughs in emissions monitoring across sectors. Our work is based on cooperation and collaboration and we aim to work with and learn from researchers and technologists around the globe.

That means Climate TRACE is constantly evolving and improving. We aim to harness the latest improvements in technologies and methodologies to provide the most accurate picture of global emissions possible. 

May 2019

Three nonprofits receive funding from to use AI to monitor power plant emissions from space.

January 2020

The vision expands to cover all global emissions; additional partners identified.

July 2020

The Climate TRACE coalition launches and work begins.

December 2020

Climate TRACE co-hosts Remote Sensing Technology Forum with UN Race to Zero and adds new partners and collaborators.

June 2021

Launch data validation effort by external scientists and emissions experts.

September 2021

Release of first Climate TRACE emissions inventory.

Coming Soon

Asset-level, monthly and weekly data released for select sectors