Last week in Marrakech at the 2016 UN Climate Change Conference known as COP 22, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was represented by a number of Participating Organisations. In particular, Dr Werner Kutsch, Director General of the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) delivered two presentations relating to GEO.
Werner presented at the EarthInfo Day, held to connect the science community to Party and non-Party stakeholders to benefit the intergovernmental process and the Paris Agreement implementation. The event took place on the second day of COP 22 and aimed to inform the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA). It focused on observations necessary for well-guided actions and opportunities to support adaptation in Africa.
To support sustainable development and reviewing, tracking and reaching the Paris Agreement goals, extended scientific knowledge is required to assist governments and other stakeholders. Earth observations are the base to provide this knowledge. Werner presented GEO’s efforts in support of the Paris Agreement and the GEO initiative on carbon and greenhouse gases that integrates actions across scientific domains.
The event provided an update on the status of the climate, the global carbon budget and the development of indicators to support adaptation and mitigation. Also, the new Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan 2016 was launched, which describes how essential climate variables, indicators and actions support the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. GCOS is the overarching body for coordinating the development of observation concepts and consulting SBSTA. It furthermore endorses and supports the implementing organisations.
In terms of Earth observations there were presentations introducing novel technical-scientific approaches in the estimation of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as actions and services to support adaptation in Africa. GEO is also very active in Africa through AfriGEOSS.
We were very pleased that Werner was able to represent the broad open Earth observations perspective alongside other GEO Participating Organisations, including the EarthInfo Day organisers UNFCCC, WMO and UNESCO-IOC.
There is a fantastic summary of EarthInfo Day here.
This is the first in a series of GEO blog posts, which will be known as Observations.
Steven Ramage, GEO Secretariat