NOAA scientists unveil online emissions-tracking tool

The U.S. might not be ready to cut its carbon emissions, but it’s ready to measure them. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has unveiled a nifty new online tool that tracks carbon dioxide levels around the world. And guess what it’s called? CarbonTracker. We’re in love! “This is a pretty exciting opportunity,” deadpanned NOAA’s head of research, Richard Spinrad, adding that the tool “will provide a fundamental ground truth about climate.” While NOAA is still working out kinks and gathering data, the agency’s long-term hope is that the tracker will reflect data from thousands of global sampling stations and give accurate carbon counts down to the city level. Researchers are also working on a way to differentiate carbon generated naturally from the kind spewed when fossil fuels burn. “If [NOAA] can do this, the effects would be remarkable,” said John Drexhage of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. “At least it means we can have an honest discussion.”