Spotlight talk
Workshop: Tackling Climate Change with ML

Spotlight: Towards Tracking the Emissions of Every Power Plant on the Planet

Heather Couture


Greenhouse gases emitted from fossil-fuel-burning power plants are a major contributor to climate change. Current methods to track emissions from individual sources are expensive and only used in a few countries. While carbon dioxide concentrations can be measured globally using remote sensing, direct methods do not provide sufficient spatial resolution to distinguish emissions from different sources. We use machine learning to infer power generation and emissions from visible and thermal power plant signatures in satellite images. By training on a data set of power plants for which we know the generation or emissions, we are able to apply our models globally. This paper demonstrates initial progress on this project by predicting whether a power plant is on or off from a single satellite image.

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