Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


ESA joins UN climate talks in Kenya

The United Nations annual summit on climate change this week in Nairobi, Kenya, seeks to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol strategy, which becomes obsolete in 2012, to restrict emissions of heat-trapping gases that drive climate change. ESA joins the activities to share results of its satellite-based Kyoto-supporting services.

More than 6 000 representatives of national governments, international organisations and non-governmental organisations are present at the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 2), held in conjunction with the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This joint summit is taking place at the UN Office in Nairobi, Gigiri, from 6 to 17 November.

Hot on the summit’s agenda is the ‘Greenhouse Gas Data 2006’ report released on 30 October by the UN Climate Secretariat that found greenhouse emissions by industrialised countries showed a "worrying" upward trend in the 2000-2004 period despite the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol requires 35 industrialised nations to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions – chief among them carbon dioxide – by 5 percent compared to reference year 1990 between 2008 and 2012, with the European Union committed to a reduction of 8 percent.

The UN report states the overall emissions dropped by 3.3 percent in the 1990-2004 period but mostly because of a 36.8 percent decrease by economies in transition in eastern and central Europe; the other industrialised parties of the UNFCCC increased their emissions by 11 percent.

Around 25 billion tonnes of extra carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere annually by human activities, mainly through wildfires, land clearance and the burning of fossil fuels. The total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by a quarter since the start of the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago.

In addition to reducing greenhouse emissions to clear the air of excess carbon dioxide, plant growth absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, so the Protocol includes a mechanism for signatories to offset emissions against increases in the stock of carbon stored in vegetation, especially forests.

What the Protocol requires for such offsetting to take place is annual reporting of land use changes – especially afforestation, reforestation and deforestation (ARD) - associated with shifts in the terrestrial carbon stock, to be carried out at the national level.

ESA has a long-standing commitment to extend the use of satellite data beyond science into operational applications, and in particular to strengthen the effectiveness of international conventions. To this end, a project called GSE Forest Monitoring (GSE-FM), which began in February 2003, integrates the most relevant and recent scientific research and monitoring practices with the latest analytical tools and information technologies aimed at detecting changes in forest area and density in order to establish baselines and projections and estimate averted emissions.

This operational forest and land use monitoring service is provided to the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. Beyond Europe, services are provided for countries, including Indonesia, South Africa, Uganda and Paraguay, and include the evaluation of Kyoto-authorised Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) afforestation to foster inward investment and sustainable development in developing countries.

GSE Forest Monitoring is being carried out as part of the initial portfolio of services offered through Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a joint initiative between ESA and the European Commission (EC) to build a global monitoring capability in support of Europe's environmental and sustainable development goals.

ESA will be operating an exhibit throughout this historic summit to communicate its activities developed to support the Protocol. It is demonstrating ESA’s contribution to systematic global observations for understanding climate change. Some of the variables essential for understanding and monitoring the climate system can be efficiently observed from space since this enables their systematic, global and homogeneous measurement. Several ESA global-scale projects transform satellite data into meaningful parameters that provide insight into climate change issues.

Renewable energy has limitless resources, but harnessing its full potential requires careful management of the fluctuations in the energy source. Earth Observation (EO) from space can assist with timely information on available resources such as met-ocean conditions, solar radiation and snow water content as well as environmental factors affecting the yield such as weather conditions, land cover and surface roughness.

The ability of satellites to deliver synoptic information (providing spatial variability) and long-term time series from the archive (providing temporal variability) make them particularly useful to optimise energy production and complement traditional in-situ measurements, which are costly and provide only local information.

ESA is also organising a Side Event – ‘Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: can it be measured?’ – on 9 November.

Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Solid progress in carbon capture

27.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>