The space agency and the most powerful search engine may team up to track if countries are keeping their carbon dioxide emission promises. NASA and Google are developing satellites to monitor both carbon dioxide pollution and the levels of forest destruction.
Google has been developing a new program called Earth Engine which is a massive storehouse that forested countries will be able to access for free, probably by the next U.N. climate conference in Mexico next year.
The new technology was demonstrated in Copenhagen at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Deforestation in third world countries is one of the biggest issues related to increased atmospheric CO2. The Earth Engine system could help everyone keep track of what is happening with the forests. This will, in turn, give scientists more information about the theoretical relationships between human activities, CO2 levels, and global climate change.
Meanwhile, NASA is awaiting White House approval and going through the budget process to re-launch the satellite that monitors carbon dioxide emissions. This kind of teamwork between public and private entities is a promising note in an otherwise rancorous debate.