Taking Climate Action with Earth Observation

As global temperatures continue to rise and greenhouse gas emissions reach alarming levels, it is evident that urgent climate action is needed. In a new report from the UN Environment Programme, it is revealed that current pledges under the Paris Agreement are insufficient, putting us on track for a significant temperature rise. However, there is hope in the form of Earth observation. Satellites provide us with a powerful tool to monitor climate change and work towards a lower-emissions and more resilient world. In this article, we will explore the importance of Earth observation in climate action and how it can contribute to our efforts in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The Urgent Need for Increased Climate Action

Understanding the pressing need for stronger climate action to address the challenges of global warming.

Taking Climate Action with Earth Observation - 1834430638

As global temperatures continue to rise and greenhouse gas emissions reach alarming levels, it is evident that urgent climate action is needed. The current pledges under the Paris Agreement, although a step in the right direction, are not sufficient to keep global warming within safe limits.

The report from the UN Environment Programme highlights that these pledges put us on track for a temperature rise of 2.5°C–2.9°C this century. This is far from the goal of limiting global warming to 2°C above preindustrial times, with an aim for 1.5°C to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

It is clear that we need to step up our efforts and take stronger climate action to prevent the devastating consequences of unchecked global warming. The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated, and it is crucial that we act now to protect our planet and future generations.

The Role of Earth Observation in Climate Action

Exploring how satellite observations provide valuable insights and data for monitoring climate change and informing effective climate action.

Satellites play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change and monitor progress towards a more sustainable world. They provide us with a systematic, global, and continuous coverage of our planet, including remote and hard-to-reach areas.

Through satellite observations, we can gather early warnings of environmental changes, improve climate predictions, and obtain the necessary data for effective international climate action. These observations offer a comprehensive and accurate picture of greenhouse gas emissions, helping us track progress and identify areas for improvement.

By leveraging satellite data, we can enhance the accuracy of national greenhouse gas inventories and reduce uncertainties. This enables us to identify additional emissions reduction opportunities and provide timely guidance on progress towards emission reduction strategies and pledges.

The Global Stocktake: Evaluating Progress and Identifying Gaps

Understanding the significance of the global stocktake in evaluating collective progress towards the Paris Agreement and bridging the gaps to achieve its goals.

The global stocktake is a crucial component of the Paris Agreement, providing a comprehensive evaluation of the world's collective progress towards mitigation and adaptation. It assesses the effectiveness of climate action plans and identifies gaps that need to be addressed.

Recent findings from the global stocktake have revealed the significant challenges we face in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The report emphasizes the need for stronger climate action before the next stocktake in 2028, as we are currently not on track to limit global warming.

During the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, countries will need to leverage the stocktake's findings to develop strategies and actions that align with the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C. This is a critical opportunity to accelerate ambition and drive meaningful change.

Enhancing Accuracy with Earth Observation Data

Exploring how Earth observation data can enhance the accuracy of national greenhouse gas inventories and improve transparency in reporting.

Accurate and consistent reporting is essential for robust climate action. Currently, national greenhouse gas emissions inventories rely on emissions factors and national statistics, which may have limitations and uncertainties.

To enhance accuracy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) encourages countries to verify reported emissions against independent measurements, such as Earth observation data. Satellite observations provide a reliable and independent source of information, promoting transparency and aligning emissions reporting with real-world conditions.

Projects like ESA's Regional Carbon Assessment and Processes project (RECCAP-2) utilize satellite-derived observations and in situ measurements to compare national inventories against state-of-the-art systems. This approach helps reduce uncertainties, identify additional emissions reduction opportunities, and provide timely guidance on progress towards emission reduction strategies.

Future Prospects: Expanding Satellite Coverage and Missions

Looking ahead to the future of Earth observation and the potential for expanding satellite coverage and missions to further support climate action.

The future of Earth observation holds great promise in our fight against climate change. With advancements in technology, we can anticipate denser satellite sampling and improved coverage in the coming years.

ESA is developing the World Emission project, an emissions-monitoring service that leverages satellite data from Copernicus, NASA, JAXA, and ground-based measurements. This global coverage project will provide essential information for policymakers, governments, and national reporting agencies to enhance pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions inventories.

Additionally, new satellite missions like the Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring (CO2M) mission will specifically measure carbon dioxide emissions resulting from human activity. These missions will play a crucial role in assessing the effectiveness of emission reduction policies and tracking progress at both national and global scales.

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