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Former VP Al Gore unveils new global database serving as pollution watchdog: ‘They have simply ignored lots of emissions that we can measure’

“They have no explanation for the discrepancy.”

"They have no explanation for the discrepancy."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Former U.S. vice president and onetime presidential hopeful Al Gore and his global coalition, Climate TRACE, have created a way to help decarbonize supply chains. Big-name companies are already taking notice, including Boeing, Tesla, Polestar, and General Motors.

According to Bloomberg’s Michelle Ma, the expansive database can track “global greenhouse gas emissions, down to the individual polluter.” 

Gore unveiled the new watchdog database during the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which ran from Nov. 30 to Dec. 13 in Dubai. Gore said he felt this year’s conference, also called “COP28,” as the 28th “Conference of the Parties” in the Paris Agreement, was particularly important because it was a year during which countries’ progress toward meeting the agreement’s goals would be measured, using a term called a “stocktake.”

“Climate TRACE is really the only independent comprehensive source of accurate data on which a stocktake can be made,” Gore added.

Through machine learning, satellites, and other technology, Climate TRACE can “show steel and aluminum supplier emissions in stunning detail.” In fact, the host country of this year’s climate conference, the United Arab Emirates, “underestimated its own emissions by over 100 million tons.” The UAE reported its 2019 figures at 225 million tons, but Climate TRACE put the total at over 350 million tons.

“They have no explanation for the discrepancy,” Gore said. “A stocktake has to be a truthful stocktake, and they have simply ignored lots of emissions that we can measure and report.”

As the Climate TRACE website explains, their inventory includes “every country and territory in the world, every major sector of the global economy, and nearly every major source of greenhouse gas emissions.”

It surely won’t just be the UAE that finds its figures grossly underreported when put under the microscope. But as more and more companies get on board — with power plants, steel mills, and mining operations the lowest hanging fruit — and gain access to this tracking data, it can only mean good things as countries around the world collectively look to decrease air pollution.

Gore was vocally critical of the overall outcome from the UN conference, saying “the influence of petrostates is still evident in the half measures and loopholes included in the final agreement.” 
While Gore has been quieter politically in recent years, he did also speak up recently in support of the Inflation Reduction Act, which created tax rebates and incentives for consumers to buy vehicles and appliances that support cleaner energy usage, among other things.

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