Google Cloud will show users their gross carbon emissions

·Contributing Writer
·2 min read

Google Cloud has added tools to help users gain a better understanding of their environmental impact as part of the company's broader efforts to combat climate change. The Carbon Footprint feature shows the gross carbon emissions linked to the electricity consumption of someone's Cloud Platform use. It displays emissions over time and can break down the data by project, product and region.

Companies will be able to roll this information into their own emissions data for internal audits and making carbon disclosures (they can export the data to Salesforce Sustainability Cloud, for instance). Google stressed that the figures relate to a user's gross carbon emissions, since the company has been carbon neutral for over a decade. It plans to run entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030.

Google Cloud will also flag applications that are not in use, as well as their carbon emissions. Google suggests that deleting apps identified by the Unattended Project Recommender will help companies mitigate security risks, lower costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

In addition, Google is bringing Earth Engine to the Cloud Platform for select users. Using satellite imagery, data sets and other tools, companies can harness Earth Engine to "track, monitor and predict changes in the Earth’s surface" caused by extreme weather events or human activity. That, Google says, will enable businesses to reduce and mitigate risks, "become more resilient to climate change threats" and save money. Companies can apply for access to Earth Engine through Google Cloud.

Last week, Google unveiled a string of features that highlight the environmental impact of consumer choices. Shopping results can promote greener options, while Google Flights started showing carbon emission estimates for almost all trips. The Nest Renew program, meanwhile, can switch your thermostat on or off depending on the availability of clean energy. In addition, Google is hoping to use AI to improve the efficiency of traffic lights and reduce pollution from idle cars.