Monday 27 May 2019, weather experts and climate-related European and international organisations attended a media seminar about Communicating on Climate Change at the CNES head office. Featuring presentations, round tables and interactive workshops, the aim was to better understand the need to change behaviour at individual, company and state levels.
Launching the event, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined France’s commitment to tackling climate change and to implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. It was this that had galvanized the first One Planet Summit (OPS) in December 2017, aimed at bringing private and public initiatives to fruition and where the world’s space agencies tabled the creation of a Space Climate Observatory (SCO)—one of the 12 commitments made by that first OPS.
Space is a vital tool for better understanding climate change, evaluating mitigation strategies and adapting to climate change. Of the 50 Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) set out by the IPCC as vital for a full understanding of our climate, 26 are observable only from space using satellites. The SCO’s key challenge will be to coordinate Earth observation research so as to create new tools and methods that will enable us to understand and anticipate the effects of climate change at different levels. Key to this will be easy access to data, so that it can be processed and applied in other areas by different types of end user such as scientists, private companies and the general public.
In addition to the SCO, CNES is involved in many international joint space missions related to climate study and the impact of climate change. These include, to name but a few, future programmes like SWOT—a joint mission with the US to conduct a global survey of Earth’s rivers, lakes, oceans and flood zones; MicroCarb with the UK to map carbon sources and sinks; and MERLIN—a French-German satellite designed to measure concentrations of atmospheric methane. CNES is also a stakeholder in the IASI programme, IASI being the instrument fitted on MetOp weather satellites to monitor both ECVs and atmospheric composition.
Created in 2004, the International Weather and Climate Forum has become a key educational and motivational event for climate issues. The Forum’s main objectives are to facilitate discussion between researchers/scientists and a wide range of individuals and decision-makers, to provide weather and climate experts with a forum for discussion and reflection, and to create fruitful synergies between scientists and socio-economic, academic, political and regional players.
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