Company News
November 26, 2021

Beta v2 Release: New API features, Data Explorer, standardised emission factor architecture, revamped developer docs

Hessam Lavi
Beta v2 Release: New API features, Data Explorer, standardised emission factor architecture, revamped developer docs

Release Notes is our periodic update that highlights recent product improvements we’ve made so you can easily stay up to date on what’s new.

So let’s dive into what’s new in this release, or skip to the end for the full technical release notes. 


Next generation of Open Emission Factors Database (OEFDB)

As part of our mission to support organisations' assessment and reduction of their climate footprint, we continue to expand the foundation of the open data platform that will serve users globally. A challenge with aggregating emission factors from various sources and local environmental agencies is the substantial variance in how the data is presented, making comparison difficult and utilisation of different providers cumbersome and time-consuming. The OEFDB is explicitly designed to answer this challenge, and with this release has received a significant update, providing standardised, machine-readable IDs, improved naming conventions and clearer descriptions and categorisation. This normalisation allows improved comparability across the various data sources and a more robust structure for the addition of further emission factor data.

The challenge and opportunity with normalising emission factors: Imagine that you are building software for an e-commerce company, and you want to automatically measure CO2e for every parcel shipped from the UK to France. To do so, you need both UK and French emission factors - but the way the BEIS data is presented is completely different to ADEME, with almost no similarities in the data schemas. Even once you have tried to work out which factors align with each other, it is not at all apparent that comparable methodologies have been used with respect to upstream production of the fuel used in the shipping. Add to this that your French isn’t what it used to be - and there are a dozen potential pitfalls that could mean you are not even close to comparing apples to pommes. That is just one example that users raised with us after our launch back in September. So we took a deep dive into the data, evaluating and scientifically vetting every one of these 1,300 emission factors.


In addition to making the database more robust, normalising this data makes it a lot easier to select the correct emission factors for humans and in machine-readable implementations.

Watch an interview with our Directors of Science sharing insights into this work:

Data Explorer: find the right emission factors for your project 

As our database of emission factors continues to grow, we heard from quite a few folks that they would love to be able to search the database in an easier way. Well, now you can with our wonderful new Data Explorer!

In addition to the existing raw dataset on GitHub, you can now also browse and search our public OEFDB and filter emission factors by any criteria. Use our new Data Explorer to search among our vast and continually growing dataset and find comprehensive descriptions and other important details for each emission factor, including unity type, year, numerical factor, and a link to the original data source. And when you have found what you are looking for, there are convenient links to guide you to the corresponding implementation details.

We are already working on a long list of exciting features to make it even easier for you to review, compare, verify, and experiment with factors for your projects. 


Revamped API for improved workflow and efficiency

We’re fortunate to be surrounded by passionate users, so the new changes have been focused on addressing the feedback we received during the past weeks. Among many updates in this release is the ability for batch processing which allows developers to query the API in bulk and calculate carbon emissions for a series of activities in a single query. This significantly improves efficiency when managing large sets of data, for instance processing server log files or compilation of shipment records.

The previous beta version and Docs will continue to be operational, however, we strongly encourage existing users to switch to the new version in order to benefit from the new features and updated emission factors.  

API Docs keep getting better

Our developer documentation has been updated to include more code examples and better instructions. We have added new sections to outline the supported unit types, e.g. ‘passenger over distance’, together with illustrative examples. Emission factors attributed to each estimate type have now been moved to the new Data Explorer which is accessible via a handy link.    


Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date with more product news and updates in the coming weeks.  



Climatiq 0.2 (beta2) release notes:

  • Added querying of sources, years, categories, sectors and regions fields to the beta2 API, allowing the determination of available values based on a given emission factor query.
  • Added API batch processing, allowing for parallel estimations.
  • Added Unit Types as API parameters, providing a modular approach to unit conversion per emission factor.
  • Updated "beta2" documentation page to provide clear instruction of the use of API features, with more detailed examples
  • The OEFDB has received a significant update (detailed OEFDB release notes here), providing standardised, machine-readable IDs, improved naming conventions and clearer descriptions and categorisation. This normalisation allows improved comparability across the various source data and a more robust structure for the addition of further emission factor data. Other updates include:
  • Launched the Data Explorer, a brand new application to explore and filter emission factors available in the API by any criteria. Search and compare emission factors from numerous official sources in our database, with details such as sources and their links, unit and emission factor values through our new data explorer.

Fixes

  • Removed assumptions around flight uplift from the IATA airport code-based flight emission estimations, avoiding potential duplication; this now relies solely on the emission factor.

Improvements

  • The estimate API response now includes the co2e_unit parameter, defining the unit of the calculated emissions.
  • API error messages are more detailed, providing alternative parameters on validation.
  • Emission factors API response now includes the underlying factor and unit.
  • value, after creating confusion, has been removed from API responses.
  • All API query responses now return an object containing results.