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30/10/2019
West Midlands Combined Authority teams up with Google in fight against climate change

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has teamed up with Google in the fight against Climate Change.

The online giant is to make crucial climate data available in the region’s three main cities – Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton – to help the West Midlands tackle the current climate emergency.

The data, which will take the form of a free online tool known as the Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), is to come from an analysis of Google’s global mapping data, showing estimates of building and transportation carbon emissions and renewable energy potential.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

Climate change is a critical issue that must be addressed - and fast. The WMCA, led by our environment portfolio holder Ian Courts, has already declared a climate emergency in the region, and we are now working up our plans as to how we become carbon neutral no later than 2041.

This data being made available across our three cities by Google will make a substantial difference to our efforts and will help us target specific areas to achieve greater results. I am delighted to team up with Google in the fight against climate change and I also feel incredibly proud that they have chosen the West Midlands as one of the first locations for their Environmental Insight Explorer tool."

Google’s data is currently available in Birmingham, and will be made available in Wolverhampton and Coventry at a later date.

Councillor Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

Birmingham declared a climate emergency in June and we need to use every tool at our disposal to tackle the very real challenges facing our city today. The Environmental Insights Explorer will help us better understand the scale of those challenges and we will be able to monitor the success of initiatives like the soon to be launched Clean Air Zone. The data will help us develop longer term clean air and climate change strategies, ensuring we take action where it is most needed."

Councillor Ian Brookfield, the leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, added:

We have a can-do attitude to tackling climate change in our city. As a local authority we are showing leadership and commitment by pledging to make our council net carbon zero by 2028. This is an ambitious target and by being an active part of Google's Climate Insights programme we will be able to make better use of data, allowing us to track our progress and make a difference to our environment. This is great news for our city and for the wider region. Every day in Wolverhampton we are we are working towards building a greener, fairer and more inclusive city for future generations."

As well as the three West Midlands cities, Google’s EIE is also launching in Dublin, Copenhagen, and Manchester.

Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, Earth Engine and Outreach, said:

Over 10,000 cities around the world have committed to taking action on climate change over the next decade. But without the right data, it can be hard to know where to start.

That is why last year we created the Environmental Insights Explorer, which I am proud to say has now launched in its first European cities, and its first European region – the West Midlands.

Created in collaboration with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), EIE analyses Google’s comprehensive global mapping data to estimate building and transportation carbon emissions and renewable energy potential, data that helps build policies, guide solutions and measure progress.

We’re already working on bringing EIE to many more cities around the world, as we’re excited about helping more cities create a healthier, cleaner future for their citizens and for the planet.”

For more information on Google’s EIE click here, and to view the West Midlands data that is currently available, click here.

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