Google Partners UN to Tackle Climate Change The tech company will provide satellite images and big data to study the impact of human activity on global ecosystems

THE United Nation’s (UN) flagship climate research finance initiative, Green Climate Fund (GCF), hit a major roadblock last week.

With US President Donald Trump refusing to contribute more money to climate change research, other donors, too, were reluctant to replenish the fund until they see the work done with the existing fund.

According to Climate Change News, this will mean a three-month delay for 11 projects that are vying for the nearly $1 billion fund.  Managed by the United Nation’s Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), the fund will, for now, have to rely on private funding.

Enter Google.

The tech giant will partner with UN Environment to provide geospatial maps, satellite images, and big data to understand the “impact of human activity on global ecosystems”, a statement released by the UN said.

The data and statistics gathered will allow governments, NGOs and researches to “track environment-related development targets”.

“We will only be able to solve the biggest environmental challenges of our time if we get the data right,” Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment said.

Both Google and the UN Environment hope to create a platform for open-source data and analysis of UN Sustainable Development Goals. The partnership will launch with an initial focus on fresh-water ecosystems. This includes mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.

A study published by NASA in May this year, which tracked global trends in freshwater in 34 regions across the world, had found that the “Earth’s wetland areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier.”

A combination of climate change, agriculture and groundwater pumping are causing a major shift in the availability of freshwater worldwide.

With governments flip-flopping on their commitment to tackling climate change and its impact, private funding seems to be the only light at the end of a very dark tunnel.




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