Glasgow, 2 November 2021. CNES and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) have signed an amendment to their April 2017 agreement with a view to continuing to work together on the MicroCarb climate mission at the COP26 conference, hosted this year by the United Kingdom in Glasgow, Scotland.
Under this new agreement to extend its contribution to the MicroCarb project, the UK will be providing an extra £3.9 million, taking its total funding contribution to £13.9 million (€16.4m) out of an overall budget of €250 million supplied by the French government through its PIA future investment programme, CNES and the European Union.
Initiated by the French space agency, MicroCarb is a microsatellite designed to map sources and sinks of carbon dioxide (CO2)—the principal greenhouse gas driving global warming—on a global scale. It will be the first European satellite dedicated to measuring CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere, thus consolidating the efforts of NASA and the Chinese and Japanese space agencies.
“CNES is lending strong support to France’s efforts to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement. We’re therefore delighted that UKSA has joined forces with us to develop this innovative and ambitious mission that is going to deliver precious insights into where CO2 emissions are highest and being captured by Earth’s ecosystems, and how these fluxes evolve as a result of climate change,” said CNES Chairman & CEO Philippe Baptiste. “The MicroCarb system and its instrument feature a number of innovations that will enable it to achieve the degree of accuracy required to add real science value. Its data will pave the way for an operational carbon monitoring service, which is a priority for Europe.”
“Over half of the critical measurements on climate change rely on satellite data. Having more accurate knowledge of how much carbon the world’s forests and oceans absorb will give policymakers the reliable information they need to take decisions on tackling climate change,” added UKSA’s Chief Executive Paul Bate. “This exciting partnership with CNES showcases the skills of the UK space sector in designing and building complex space instruments and cutting-edge satellites.”
MicroCarb, which will be operational between now and 2023, will monitor CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere from space with extreme precision and detect any variations due to surface emissions and absorption in cities, forests and oceans around the globe. The satellite also has a specific observation mode designed to estimate anthropogenic CO2 emissions over large urban areas that are fuelling the greenhouse effect and disrupting climate balances.
MicroCarb data will aid the scientific community in monitoring the processes driving the evolution of Earth’s greenhouse effect, thus helping to gauge efforts to curb carbon emissions and reach the target set out in the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming below 2°C with respect to pre-industrial levels.
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