Google Earth Looks At CO2 Emissions

    February 23, 2009

It’s probably fair to say that the average person doesn’t know a lot about CO2 emissions; news stories don’t go much beyond "humans are responsible for them."  If you want to learn, then, a certain green-minded search giant has made some information available through Google Earth.

On the Google LatLong Blog, Simon Ilyushchenko explains, "While several reports and inventories of human fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the US already exist, the most comprehensive one that I know of was produced by Project Vulcan . . . .  The results produced by Project Vulcan are publicly available, but they are not easy to analyze for a non-scientist, so during my 20% time at Google I have created dynamic maps of the Vulcan data, broken down by sector."

Ilyushchenko’s sectors include aircraft, commercial, electricity production, industrial, nonroad, onroad, and residential.  The statistics can also be broken down on an absolute or per capita basis, and according to county or state lines.

In the end, this should help Google Earth users grasp the size and complexity of the CO2 problem.  It’s not hard to imagine the map making it into one of Al Gore’s presentations or even in front of lawmakers, too.

Just keep your fingers crossed that the whole thing doesn’t backfire, since with so much CO2 around, making any sort of dent does become a daunting task for individuals.