The power is yours: Tracking emissions with the Ventus Project

In a Co.EXIST article by Stan Alcorn, Arizona State University researcher Kevin Gurney discusses his tool, the Ventus Project, an online portal that allows everyday citizens to record nearby carbon-emitting power plants.

Gurney, a senior sustainability scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability and an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says people around the globe can identify power plants and then input data like location and name into Ventus. About 90 percent of carbon emissions from power plants is recorded, but that other 10 percent is what Gurney's team is after.

"We try to do this ourselves in Google Earth and it can be done,” says Gurney. “It’s just so unbelievably labor intensive…It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Gurney hopes the combination of citizen science and satellite data will show how much carbon is being soaked up by vegetation and the land, and when and if that process will stop – leaving us in a haze.