COP26: Invest in nature to win on climate, says Google


(IANS) It’s becoming increasingly clear that we not only need to adapt to protect vulnerable communities and natural habitats against climate change but we also need to look to nature as a regenerative solution, not just something that we need to protect, but something that will protect us, Google has stressed.

During the past two weeks at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), world leaders committed to averting the worst consequences of climate change.

“When we observe the Earth’s surface over the past few decades in Google Earth’s Timelapse, the immensity of the change to our natural environment is arresting,” said Nithya Sowrirajan, Director, Global Solutions, Google Earth and Earth Engine.

“At Google, we’re keenly invested in preventing the worst effects of climate change, and helping our customers use Google Cloud technology to build a more sustainable future,” added Jen Bennett, Director, Office of CTO, Google Cloud.

It was 11 years ago at COP16 that the tech giant unveiled Google Earth Engine, an earth observation platform that combines a multi-petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with powerful analysis capabilities.

“And for over a decade now, scientists and researchers have used it to detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth’s surface,” Sowrirajan said in a blog post.

“In our experience working with NGOs like World Resources Institute to develop tools such as Global Forest Watch, technology is critical to monitoring changes to and protecting the forests that we’re depending on to mitigate climate change,” Sowrirajan added.

A proliferation of satellites and sensors are enabling researchers to better understand different types of changes like land coverage or surface water, with increasing resolution.

“Increasing the frequency of imaging provides us with timely understanding of changes in the Earth’s forests, landscapes, icescapes, and coastal waters,” Bennett noted.

Protecting forests and natural resources isn’t just a challenge for nation states, said Google.

Organisations across the public sector and industries such as agriculture, financial services and consumer goods also need to better manage and mitigate climate risks and preserve natural resources impacted by their supply chain and they’re using technology to do so.

“No one can tackle climate action and nature preservation alone. By working in collaboration, we can win on nature together,” Google said.

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