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The Paris Declaration for the establishment of a Space Climate Observatory

on 21 December 2017

On the eve of the One Planet Summit organised in Paris, on 12 December, and chaired by President Emmanuel Macron, the President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) together with other heads of the world’s space agencies met at CNES to discuss climate monitoring from space. The high-level meeting led to the adoption of the Paris Declaration, which proposes to set up a Space Climate Observatory (SCO) to help sustain long-term observations, pool climate data acquired from space and make them readily available to the international community in a free and open data policy. 

In order to take coordinated actions on climate change, it is important for countries to have a common understanding of the causes, effects and evolution of climate change. Satellites play an essential role in acquiring this understanding as they provide observations that are global, uniform, sustained over the years and regularly repeated over days, offering high resolution, as well as broad-scale monitoring of our planet.

Out of the 50 essential climate variables (ECVs) defined by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), 26 can only be measured from space. Cooperation between the world’s space agencies and their reinforced commitment is essential, as stated in the Mexico Declaration on climate and natural disasters (2015), the New Delhi Declaration on greenhouse gases (2016) and the Marrakesh Declaration on the water cycle (2016).

The 2017 Paris meeting provided the opportunity to highlight severe impacts of climate change for different countries all over the world, the progress accomplished by space agencies since COP21 and future prospects through three roundtables on greenhouse gas monitoring, water resources and disaster management. The space agencies agreed to create a Space Climate Observatory, based on systematic observations of ECVs, data validation and intercalibration, a strategic architecture for integration of space and in-situ data and models, and a free and open data policy.

Represented by Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso, the President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), Romania is one of the countries that adopted the Paris Declaration.

The event marked two years since a major milestone - the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries which set new targets for nations towards a common effort to keep global warming below 2°C with respect to pre-industrial levels and to adapt to climate change.

Image credit: CNES