Images via AMEE
The Avoiding Mass Extinctions Engine, or AMEE, is an organization with an audacious goal: to track the energy footprint of everything on earth. It entails an enormous amount of work, from figuring out how to track it to actually aggregating the data. But the project is doing well, and AMEE has just launched a new tool that helps put much of the information gathered into the hands of anyone who wants to know. AMEE Explorer is a search engine that lets users select a category of product and drill down to gather GHG and carbon footprint information about, well, everything on earth. Or at least that's the goal of this tool, launched today in beta mode. How AMEE Explorer Works:
"Each page in AMEE Explorer describes an individual AMEE category - a collection of items representing energy consuming or other activities which share a common way to calculate their associated greenhouse gas emissions. AMEE categories contain, for example, different types of car or train transport, types of fuel or country-specific grid electricity, electrical appliances, and agricultural or industrial processes.
"Since AMEE provides all of the data and models necessary for calculating emissions in each of these cases (and more!), you only need to choose the data item of interest (this might represent a car, a building, a flight or an electrical appliance), then use this as the blueprint for creating a profile item in which you can set profile item values to store usage information (e.g. the number of km travelled, or litres of fuel used)."
Everything is transparent, so users can see the sources of information and the methodologies for calculating the GHG and carbon footprint data.
Find the CO2 footprint of everything from water:
There are still some hiccups, as anything in beta is bound to have. While trying to explore notebook computers, I got several broken link errors. But as more people use the explorer and provide feedback, the bigger and better this tool will become.
Why This Is A Really Big Deal
It is really difficult to find carbon footprint information about everything we use and consume, and it is even harder to see and understand how that data is calculated to ensure it is accurate. Wattzon attempts to track the embodied energy of all our products with a crowd-sourced database, but the database is still tiny, and the fact that it's crowd-sourced rather than verified information makes it untrustworthy. AMEE, on the other hand, is working not only to do the data collection work for us, but also provide us with the transparency necessary for the growth of accurate, trustworthy information.
The fact that anyone can now have ready access to a quickly growing data base of carbon footprint information - to which they can provide feedback and help grow - is a key component of moving towards a sustainable future.
In a world where carbon accounting is becoming the norm - and the standard by which we measure the impact of our use of resources and consumption of goods - a one-stop source for transparent information on carbon footprints of everything on earth with easy searchability will impact everything from consumer habits to how carbon accounting is done.
And, it's not closed for comments. AMEE recognizes that this data is only worthwhile if people can use it, so the company openly encourages everyone to dive in and make suggestions, provide input, and add their two cents to ensure that the data is as precise and useful as possible. It's an ever evolving project, but it's one that is setting the tone for carbon footprint calculations globally.
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