Tribune. The European Green Deal demands immediate action, guided by precise and reliable data. These play a major role in informing governments’ decisions in terms of identifying risks, allocating resources and monitoring the results obtained. Nevertheless, the lack of data is sorely lacking to concretely assess the progress made by countries in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals [à l’horizon 2030].
Gaps that satellite imagery can fill. Although the programme Copernicus already restores geospatial data for climate policy, having higher spatial, temporal and spectral resolutions would allow detailed monitoring over several decades. The European Commission can take further steps to take advantage of the latest innovations, especially in data analysis and indexing, through public and private partnerships.
Although knowledge of the Earth through satellite imagery is nothing new, the space sector is constantly innovating, exceeding its capabilities year on year. Remote sensing satellites accurately measure sea level and the presence of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases.
Optical satellites monitor extreme weather events by observing sea surface temperatures, wind speed, and sea level. Radar imagery and altimetry have taught us that the polar caps of Greenland and South Antarctica is melting six times faster today than in the 1990s.
In addition, improved optical and temporal resolutions of Earth observation satellites provide real-time monitoring and provide better climate forecasting and modeling capabilities. Satellite data can also be used as training data useful for machine learning applications. For example, geospatial data will be a major resource in the framework of the European Commission project, Destination Earth (DestinE), aiming to develop a very high precision digital model of the Earth to monitor and simulate natural and human activity.
Earth observation is a key tool for the implementation of the European Green Deal, because it provides unique information, invisible down to earth. In the agricultural sector, it is used to monitor crop health, detect variations in fields and predict yields. It makes it easier for farmers to optimize their inputs and reduce the use of pesticides, an important objective of the strategy “From farm to table” promoting the establishment of sustainable food systems.
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“Earth observation is a key tool for the implementation of the European Green Deal”