Sunday 8 July, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall was at the 18th Aix-en-Provence economic forum, focused this year on the theme of ‘A world in metamorphosis’, to present the key role that space and CNES are playing in efforts to tackle climate change and its impacts through the Space Climate Observatory (SCO).
First held in 2001, the Aix-en-Provence economic forum is today the largest event of its kind in France addressing current and future challenges facing the world. This year’s three-day public forum brought together 250 speakers—executives, academia, economists, authors, sociologists and policymakers—from 33 countries and 120 students, and featured a start-up village and 45 roundtable sessions that produced 45 recommendations.
At the roundtable on ‘What governance in a world rocked by climate change?’, Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined France’s proactive stance on this major challenge of the 21st century, as evidenced by the success of the Paris Agreement signed on 12 December 2015 and the organization two years later of the One Planet Summit by President Emmanuel Macron. He stressed the need to establish a shared diagnosis and objective measurements for gauging climate change, and pointed to the vital role of satellites in climate monitoring, since 26 of the 50 identified essential climate variables can only be measured from space. Jean-Yves Le Gall reminded the audience that CNES, as a climate-focused space agency, has made tackling climate change its priority, a commitment materialized through the recent launch of the SCO, an initiative the agency is leading in the wake of the One Planet Summit. This international observatory bringing together the world’s leading space agencies combines satellite and in-situ data with a view to gauging and understanding climate change and its impacts, its goal being to inform decisions for the world’s leaders.
After the roundtable, Jean-Yves Le Gall concluded: “In a world rocked by climate change, the Space Climate Observatory is more than ever a vital tool to help policymakers better quantify its consequences and adapt to and mitigate them through concrete solutions for their nations and populations.”