Responsible investment specialists at local authority pension pool LGPS Central have praised an updated inventory and visualisation of physical asset-level greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data as arguably the “coolest climate tech” at COP28.

Climate TRACE, a non-profit co-founded by former US vice present Al Gore, uses satellites, other forms of remote sensing, and additional public and commercial data to pinpoint major sources of GHG emissions around the world, with independently produced estimates of how much each emits.

Launched in 2020, the organisation published an updated inventory of GHG emissions from more than 352 million assets at the UN climate summit in Dubai. This is a 4,400x increase from the number of assets covered by Climate TRACE in 2022.

Reflecting on COP28, Patrick O’Hara, director of responsible investment and engagement at LGPS Central, and Ed Baker, net zero manager, highlighted the technology as one of the “unsung stories” of the climate summit.

“This type of asset-level data could potentially mean investors would not in future need to rely only on company reports for emissions data,” they wrote in a note.

“While information on physical asset data has been accessible for a while, this endeavour is likely to expedite its progress,” they added.

LGPS Central launched its net zero strategy last year.

Climate TRACE said the majority of corporate emissions worldwide that are included in its inventory are still not included in self-reported ESG databases.

According to its latest update, efforts are underway to develop applications of Climate TRACE data for the financial sector, with Clarity AI integrating Climate TRACE data into its risk analysis for investment firms and Joint Impact Model using the data for impact measurement in investment portfolios.

The data is also helpful for corporates themselves. According to Climate TRACE, companies such as Tesla and Polestar have begun working with it to enhance their emissions data on steel and aluminium suppliers, and Boeing has committed to exploring how the database could support work to assess aviation’s paths to decarbonisation.

Data published on Climate Trace are free and publicly available.

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