Digital Discovery Session: Climate TRACE

David Jensen

The October Digital Discovery session focused on the Climate TRACE initiative as requested by members of the CODES Community of Practice. 

Climate TRACE (Tracking Real Time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions) is a joint initiative founded by ten collaborating universities, environmental nonprofits, tech startups, and environmental leaders; plus dozens of other institutions that have contributed additional data and analysis. The purpose of the coalition is to pool the collective technical resources in satellite imagery, remote sensing, machine learning and other innovations of all of these organizations to bring recency, and granularity to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories. The coalition has already published emissions at the country level for all major emitting sectors from 2015 to 2020. Later this year, the coalition will be publishing updated 2021 country level estimates, and the first-ever facility level emissions database for all major emitting sectors.


Speaker bios:


Sam Schiller is the Co-Founder and CEO of Carbon Yield, where he has utilized his deep experience in carbon markets and agricultural communities to better align farm profitability with carbon storage in healthy soils. His entrepreneurial work in environmental markets has generated over 2 million tons of carbon credits and earned him the Kellogg Zell Fellowship, first prize at the 2019 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, and recognition in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas series. Carbon Yield serves as the Agricultural Lead of Climate TRACE, where Sam has collaborated across global research teams to help solve challenging emissions reporting and accounting challenges in ways that improve the credibility and impact of greenhouse gas programs and ultimately incentivize more regenerative food production systems.


Nils Jenson is a senior associate in RMI’s Climate Intelligence program in the Oil & Gas Solutions Initiative, working to enable emissions visibility and reduction through newly available data and market-based mechanisms. RMI leads Climate TRACE's oil and gas emissions estimation work. Before joining RMI, Nils worked at Genscape (later acquired by Wood Mackenzie) where he developed and managed a product providing daily oil production estimates for ~70 percent of global production via satellite detection of flaring and other signals. Prior to Genscape/WoodMac, Nils worked as a hedge fund analyst focused on the energy sector, but also covered a broader range of equity, commodity, currency, and fixed income positions.


Lekha Sridhar is a Senior policy analyst at WattTime, a clean energy non-profit based in Oakland, CA, and manages international partnerships for Climate TRACE. WattTime leads Climate TRACE's electricity sector work and convenes the coalition of organisations. Prior to WattTime, she was a consultant for the UN Environment Programme and the Government of India on sustainable cooling policy, and was an environmental litigation attorney in India. She has a Master of Public Policy from the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.


The session was moderated by Shivam Kishore, UNEP's senior advisors for digital transformation




  • Intro and overview of Climate TRACE: Lekha Sridhar (15 mins)
  • Questions and clarifications (5-10 mins)
  • Deep dive on oil and gas sector emissions estimation and data applications: Nils Jenson, Senior Associate, RMI (15 mins)
  • Questions and clarifications (5-10 mins)
  • Deep dive on agriculture emissions estimation from fertilizer use and livestock: Sam Schiller, CEO, Carbon Yield (15 mins)
  • Questions and clarifications (5-10 mins)
  • Discussion: Use cases for granular emissions data -- thoughts and ideas from participants (20 mins)



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