CarbonChain's AI Tracks Emissions of World's Biggest Polluters

CarbonChain will use AI to accurately track emissions of firms spewing 50% of the world's pollution.
Brad Bergan

A company called CarbonChain is developing a service capable of accurately mapping emissions from the commodities industry — which has caused 50% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the company's official website.


CarbonChain's AI maps emissions from world's biggest polluters

The Australian bush fire pushed Adam Hearne — CEO and cofounder of CarbonChain — to take action. For 12 years, Hearne worked for companies widely-recognized as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, reports Tech Crunch.

He was at Rio Tinto — one of the biggest industrial miners — and then moved on to Amazon, where he worked with inbound delivery operations throughout the EU. For both jobs, Hearne kept operations flowing smoothly for companies whose production spews millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

Amazon alone pumped 51.17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year — equal to 13 coal-burning power plants, according to a report from CarbonChain.

Then Australia — Hearne's home country — began to burn.

Australian wildfires push Hearne to confront climate crisis

The 2019 wildfires in Australia engulfed more than 46 million acres of land — destroying more than 9,000 buildings and killing more than 400 people, along with an unknown number of animals — some of which are on the brink of extinction.

This is when Hearne and his old colleague from business school Roheet Shah — in addition to machine learning and computer science experts of the Imperial College of London Jeremiah Smith and Yuri Oparin — launched CarbonChain.

Now on the cusp of graduating from its latest Y Combinator cohort, CarbonChain wants to build a service capable of accurately representing emissions from the commodities industry — the forces behind 50% of the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions.

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CarbonChain's AI helps firms track, monitor regulation effectiveness

The company's new services are sorely needed right now. Global nations are ready to adopt substantially more stringent regulations surrounding carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, Tech Crunch reports. The EU is picking up pace in the effort to pass sweeping new regulations concerning climate change, customized to suit the region's local economic needs. Even petroleum-friendly states like Russia are ready to enact a new wave of climate regulations (Russian officials reportedly say).

The missing element in these developments is a way for companies to track their emissions with accuracy, in addition to new technologies capable of sufficiently monitoring how well steps to reduce emissions are working.

'Hard numbers' needed to fight climate crisis

CarbonChain tries to confront these issues by pointing to industrial sectors of the global economy responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, said Hearne, reports Tech Crunch.

"The world needs hard accounting and hard numbers of what commodities companies are producing," said Hearne in July, mid-interview, Tech Crunch reports.

To guarantee emissions reductions and new regulations are effective, regulators need to focus on oil, gas, commodities, and minerals producers, added Hearne, according to Tech Crunch. "Those sectors are uniform and carbon intensive and that's how you quantify them," he said.

One of the most difficult things for the general public when it comes to the climate crisis is living as a consumer while also parsing through the eco-friendly PR campaigns — to understand which companies are taking steps to practice accountability for their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. With companies like CarbonChain pointing out which ones are putting us at risk, economic leaders can work together to find new sustainable solutions, and help slow the progression of global climate change.

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