Google’s city emissions tool expands into Europe

Google's online emissions dataset tool to help city planners build policies to lower emissions has launched across Europe today, with Dublin, Krakow, Birmingham, and the greater metropolitan area of Manchester set to use it to assist with planning developments.

Google’s city emissions tool expands into Europe

Dublin is one of the first European cities to use the EIE platform

Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) tool has been created in partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, an international alliance of almost 10,000 local governments and city representatives that have committed to combatting climate change. It launched in the US in September 2018.

The tool offers free datasets across building emissions, transportation emissions, energy offset potential and 20-year climate projections to enable city planners to explore new measures to set meaningful emission reduction targets.

The EIE analyses datasets from Google Maps to enable cities to create carbon baselines, set mitigation goals and identify reduction opportunities.

Google is now expanding the online tool to cities in Europe. City leaders in Dublin, for example, will use EIE for datasets on smart mobility programmes aimed at reducing transport emissions and improving air quality.

“The Environmental Insights Explorer allows us to generate useful information to measure and track the progress of a multiyear investment in cycle infrastructure and initiatives to help promote cycling and encourage citizens to select cleaner modes of transportation,” Dublin City Council’s chief executive Owen Keegan said.

“Now we can bring EIE 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.”

Google is also increasing access to “hyperlocal, street-level air quality data” by retrofitting more than 50 Google Street View cars with technology that captures air quality measurements. The first batch will be deployed in Copenhagen to mark to launch of the C40 Cities Summit today (10 October).

A report released this week from C40 Cities found that 30 of the world’s largest cities, including London, New York and Copenhagen, have now reached a peak in their greenhouse gas emissions.

Technological advancements 

The EIE is the latest online tool provided by Google that enables users to explore ways to lower overall climate impacts. The tech firm’s Project Sunroof, for example, analyses how much solar energy could be generated by rooftop solar systems on a roof-by-roof basis. It launched in the US in 2015, before expanding to the UK earlier this year.

In 2017, Google released its first block-by-block dataset that enables residents to make different travel route decisions and help improve air quality in local areas. Google collected almost three million measurements across 14,000 miles of road in 2017, although publicly available data was limited to Oakland, California.

Google’s launch is timely. Research from UN Environment has this week revealed that less than 20% of the global population live in subnational areas covered by climate mitigation goals and targets.

Matt Mace

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