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New York/Canadian-Media: European Space Agency (ESA) is primed to play a crucial role in the revitalized international drive to combat global warming set out at the COP26 climate talks, ESA news reports said.
Image credit: Website
After two weeks of negotiations, the summit – which was held in Glasgow in the UK – concluded with world governments working to agree on a renewed commitment to dial back planet-warming emissions.
As set out in its recently released vision for European space activities, ESA is stepping up its efforts to help tackle the climate crisis.
At COP26, the agency showcased how it is using space technology to boost global understanding of the changing environment and accelerate the transition to a green, sustainable economy.
A critical decade for climate action
A fleet of Earth observing satellites called the Sentinels – developed by ESA as part of the European Union’s Copernicus program – provide data on different aspects of the environment.
ESA’s Climate Change Initiative – which uses space data to generate long-term observations for key aspects of the climate – enables scientists to understand the Earth system and helps governments and businesses work towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, an international treaty that aims to limit global warming.
The initiative made strong contributions to a recently released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that revealed the urgent need to accelerate climate action.
Over the next decade, ESA’s space activities will help the international community monitor how well mitigation and adaption strategies are working, supporting the ambition of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.
Several new ESA missions that will facilitate these efforts were highlighted as part of the summit.
The agency reported that Europe’s new satellite for monitoring and tracking carbon dioxide emissions from human activity is being put through its paces at ESA’s Test Centre in the Netherlands ahead of its launch in 2025.
The satellite is one of six Copernicus Sentinel Expansion missions being developed by ESA on behalf of the European Union.
Speeding the green transition
On top of helping to monitor the environment, space technology is enabling businesses in Europe to develop and commercialize sustainable solutions for a decarbonized economy.
As part of the summit, ESA highlighted how the integration of satellites and terrestrial communications networks is set to enable next-generation connectivity, supporting innovative applications across society, including low-emissions autonomous vehicles, green energy production and even entire smart city ecosystems.
ESA is developing a center for business innovation – called the 5G/6G Hub – at its site in the UK to showcase the immense potential of these converged telecommunications networks.
ESA held a joint stand with Space4Climate in the COP26 Green Zone. The agency was joined by many of its partners, including the UK Space Agency, RAL Space, and Darwin Innovation Group.