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Google Earth: Co2 Emissions

Scientists from the University of Purdue in the United States have developed an interactive map of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, which they have made available on Google Earth.

The high-resolution map allows anyone to view pollution from factories, power plants, roads, and residential and commercials areas for their state or county, and also allows for easy comparison across such areas, according to a University of Purdue press release.

It currently covers the U.S. only, but plans are in the works to expand it to other countries as well. The map is available on the Purdue website.

The map is based on a system that the team of scientists named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Vulcan system quantifies all the carbon dioxide emissions that result from burning fossil fuels such as coal and petrol.

The project’s manager, Kevin Gurney, believes this system will help demystify the connection that exists between the use of fossil fuels and climate change. “This will bring emissions information into everyone’s living room as a recognizable, accessible online experience,” he said. “What was once the realm of scientists will now be provided directly to the public.”

According to media reports, the project developers hope the Google Earth content will continue to grow and eventually turn into an interactive space where the public will feed information into the system to create an even finer picture of emissions, down to the street and individual building level. The team has also revealed plans to expand Vulcan to other countries, beginning with Canada and Mexico.

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