Carbonware: Googling forests, Windows on your carbon

image_2With carbon, climate and COP 15 in the news, Google and Microsoft are now battling over carbon mindshare, introducing the latest web-based “Carbonware” designed to help combat carbon emissions and global warming. These add to a growing list that includes the many “carbon footprint calculators” designed to enlighten us on our carbon emissions and the activities we undertake that cause them. Not to mention the carbon offset purchase sites that can make you feel better about jetting off to a conference on climate, leaving a trail of carbon behind you

Microsoft’s “Bend the Trend” portal was released on Monday together with the European Environmental Agency, as “a multi-platform solution to showcase positive impacts we can all make to reduce global carbon emissions. “ …. “where users worldwide can pledge to make lifestyle changes which will have a positive impact on reduction of global carbon emissions. “ The system encourages individual commitments to reduce emissions and then maps individual user contributions to reducing emissions at scales ranging from individual users to national and global patterns. It’s a very interesting way to encourage individual commitments.

3Google is supporting deforestation monitoring efforts with its support of web enabled mapping for the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System (CLASlite), and Brazil’s Imazon, Sistema de Alerta de Deforestation (SAD). These are designed to support efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation in developing nations via the REDD program – now supported by COP 15. While there are issues with trying to use REDD to avoid global warming, this is a very useful contribution.

Given that international negotiations have yet to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is good to see the growing introduction of carbonware and other efforts to do this outside of governments. Now, if only we had “legally-binding” carbonware to visualize a real international agreement to reduce climate change!