Google will track emissions from every power plant in the world from orbit

The global Google AI Impact Challenge provides $ 25 million to organizations that require artificial intelligence services to address global challenges. An example is the recent $ 1.7 million grant from Google to a group of companies that want to keep an eye on the so-called "dirty energy" actors. First of all, these are coal-fired power plants in countries that refuse to reduce air emissions.

The recipients of the grant are WattTime and the World Resources Institute. The first one develops methods of giving up "dirty energy", the second one deals with the balance of resource consumption in the world. The funds will be used to scale up Carbon Tracker, a think tank looking for connections between dirty objects and emissions. They developed and successfully applied a satellite monitoring method for coal-fired power plants in China.

The idea is very simple, but laborious - with the help of satellites, facts of emissions into the atmosphere at target objects are continuously collected, where they are often not allowed to come close. This information is then used for a wide range of purposes, for the benefit of politicians, environmentalists, economists, etc. Carbon Tracker has already managed to catch Chinese energy companies in the operation of facilities that were allegedly closed, as well as to prove that they exceeded emission standards.

Now the alliance of organizations wants to increase the capacity of the satellite constellation and take under supervision as many power plants as possible. Ideally, everything in the world, but this is a super difficult task, since the weather rarely favors activists. In addition, it is not always possible to understand what kind of substances and in what quantities are emitted into the atmosphere. This is where AI from Google comes in handy, which will help analyze satellite data to find the truth. Everything will be as open and public as possible - the more intractable people learn about the all-seeing "eye from heaven", the more incentives they will have to change their activities, activists believe.