The Best Inventions of 2020
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November 19, 2020 8:56 AM EST

For years, Silicon Valley companies have used artificial intelligence to make social media more addictive and streaming recommendations more predictive. “But very few people want to point these tools at the biggest problem we’re facing: CO2 emissions,” says Gavin McCormick, a co-founder of Climate TRACE. The first-of-its-kind environmental analytics tool—backed by an international coalition that includes seven environmental nonprofits and former Vice President Al Gore—uses a combination of machine learning, infrared satellite imagery and advanced computer modeling to track polluters worldwide in real time. The information it collects, accessible through a data-rich online portal that is set for release in 2021, will help environmental organizations verify that governments around the globe are honoring pledges to cut greenhouse gases. The data will also enable companies to better judge their supply chain’s cleanliness—and help the public stay informed too. —J.R. Sullivan

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