The COP22 climate change summit opened today in Marrakesh, Morocco. ESA is joining international partners to report on the status of space-based climate research and propose improvements to how climate data are collected and distributed.

The 22nd UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change is hosting international leaders to assess the progress in dealing with climate change.

The meeting provides an opportunity for delegates to discuss the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature increase below 2°C. The outgoing President, Ségolène Royal, announced this morning that 100 countries have signed the Paris Agreement, which came into force on 4 November.

ESA is part of a coordinated response by international space agencies to provide crucial information for mitigating climate change. Satellites collect data on a number of climate variables including greenhouse gas emissions, delivering unbiased information on the health of our planet.

At the opening of the two-week summit, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) committee noted that, while current observing systems have enabled great advances in understanding climate change and its human causes, there is room for improvement at regional scales.

It proposes a plan to improve observing networks and systems, as well as ensure the regular review and monitoring of the performance of the global climate observation system. The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites and Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites – both of which ESA takes part in – will respond to that plan on behalf of the space agencies.

The plan also aims to guarantee open data access and indefinite data storage, as well as the delivery of information products to support climate services.

Observational guidelines and requirements for essential climate variables that can be used both globally and for local adaptation is key to a coordinated international approach to measuring the impacts of climate change, and was also included in the GCOS plan of action, along with the development of an agreed list of climate indicators.

Over the course of the summit, ESA will meet representatives from other space agencies to improve cooperation in collecting and sharing crucial data.

ESA will also participate in a number of side events, including special sessions on how satellite data are contributing the UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, or REDD+, initiative.