European Green Deal in need of monitoring solutions

In December 2019, the European Commission (EC) presented the European Green Deal as the strategy and roadmap that will guide Europe towards becoming climate-neutral by 2050. The European Green Deal is made up of policies and initiatives, e.g. regarding clean energy, biodiversity, sustainable food systems, and pollution. It aims to tackle climate-environmental challenges, but also to transform the European economy and society towards sustainability and inclusiveness, protecting its natural assets as well as health and wellbeing of its citizens.

Earth Observation (EO) will be crucial for assisting the monitoring of key environmental aspects, by using both using in-situ observations and remote sensing. It will also enable tracking the evolution of climate change over time as well as the impact of measures, with the help of services such as the Copernicus Climate Change Service. At the same time, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service supports monitoring pollutants in the atmosphere, while the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service will provide the basis for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions created by land use.

The Green Deal related energy policies will increase the demand for renewable energy and enabling infrastructure. EO can contribute to the detection of suitable locations for alternative power generation, planning and monitoring of infrastructure, and forecasting renewable energy supply. To support pollution policies, EO can monitor air and water quality and detect polluters as well as contribute to reducing pollution e.g. by means of precision agriculture and smart urban planning. Further, EO can monitor ecosystems in marine (e.g. through the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service), urban, or rural areas, detecting their condition, as well as informing measures that will help preserve and restore ecosystems.

All these different applications are powered by in-situ and satellite data as well as by advanced modelling techniques. Thanks to the Copernicus free, full and open data policy, a vibrant and highly innovative community of researchers and industrial actors has now easy and constant access to an immense stream of world-class observations. Using a wide range of methods, this community – strongly represented in the flagship e-shape project – is developing solutions that can directly contribute to monitoring and implementing the European Green Deal policies. Thus, through its showcases and pilots (e.g. Pilot 7.1 “Global Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Pilot 4.2 “mySITE”, or Pilot 2.2 “EO-based surveillance of POPs pollution”), e-shape aspires to support the realisation of the EU Green Deal goals.

As these goals become the centrepiece of European policy making going forward, it is expected that strong demand will be created and thus opportunity for EO-enabled products and services across all thematic areas covered by e-shape. This will take the form of heavy investments, a significant amount of which is to be expected to go into monitoring. Addressing the monitoring needs of the European institutions, international bodies, as well as sectors contributing to climate change would be an additional value proposition.

To help e-shape partners identify and capture associated opportunities, the Market Trends Observatory will be closely monitoring EU Green Deal-related news and developments.

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