#SpaceWatchGL Share: FROM ORBIT TO SOIL: How Earth Observation Can Help Achieve the European Green Deal  – SpaceWatch.Global

by Dr. Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, Planet

SpaceWatch.Global has been granted permission by Planet to publish chosen articles. This White Paper is “FROM ORBIT TO SOIL: How Earth Observation Can Help Achieve the European Green Deal” writtenby Dr. Agnieszka Lukaszczyk and for informational functions solely. All rights are reserved with © Planet 2021.

This White Paper shall present context for the Space Café “33 minutes with Will Marshall”, Co-Founder and CEO of Planet on 25 May at four pm CEST – You can register for the occasion here.

San Francisco; Credits: Planet



Screen seize from the press assertion by EC President Ursula VON DER LEYEN on the European Green Deal; Credits: European Union, 2019

As the EU aspires to steer local weather mitigation within the face of world warming, it’s vital that motion be told by dependable and correct knowledge. Thanks to unprecedented technological improvements, knowledge now permits decision-makers to establish dangers, tailor coverage response and useful resource allocation, monitor progress and establish developments. Among them, satellite tv for pc imagery continues to offer us with a singular understanding of the Earth, by leaving no characteristic of the planet unseen. With the specter of local weather change persevering with to hazard the livelihood of human beings and the biosphere, the European Commission should proceed to encourage using area applied sciences and facilitate knowledge entry and distribution throughout sectors whether it is to attain the European Green Deal and shield the planet.

Europe’s Climate Ambitions

The European Commission demonstrated unprecedented management in December 2019 when it unveiled its flagship motion plan to sort out local weather change, the European Green Deal. Through this technique, the European Union (EU) will goal to change into the primary resource-efficient and aggressive economic system with out internet emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. In a time the place the science behind local weather change continues to be questioned, initiative and motion like this are wanted to guard our planet. Currently, nearly three quarters of the Earth’s floor have been altered, the worldwide inhabitants of untamed species has fallen by 60% within the final forty years and a million of species are prone to extinction. The severity of this biodiversity loss results in meals insecurity, malnutrition, and financial loss. Beyond the well being of our pure ecosystems, the continued rise of world temperatures has brought about new information in excessive climate occasions, from drought, floods and wildfires to earthquakes and tsunamis, endangering the livelihoods of whole populations.

The European Green Deal units bold targets to deal with this existential menace, together with restoring degraded ecosystems at land and sea throughout Europe with the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and decreasing greenhouse gases emissions to zero by 2050 with the European Climate Law. In addition to regional motion, a part of the motion plan is to extend the EU’s “green diplomacy” and exhibit EU management in multilateral fora to extend collective effort and attain the targets of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Ambitious motion plans just like the European Green Deal require an abundance of sources, together with viable knowledge. Data permits governments to establish dangers, tailor coverage response and useful resource allocation, monitor progress and establish developments. However, critical knowledge gaps stay within the international struggle in opposition to local weather change. For instance, the UN SDGs 2020 Report discovered that the dearth of country-level knowledge, vital time lags, and the dearth of knowledge analytics instruments forestall the efficient evaluation of country-level progress in the direction of the SDGs. While some penalties of local weather change are irreversible, knowledge gaps and analytics deficits can simply be addressed.

While local weather change presents the best menace to humanity, there may be an arsenal of instruments to be leveraged permitting us to struggle it. The inexperienced transition should be complemented by the continued use and enchancment of contemporary applied sciences. Space applied sciences, for instance, can be utilized to observe local weather change, assist with governments’ response to local weather change, and observe the progress of that response. Satellite devices can exactly measure international sea ranges, and observe the presence of carbon dioxide, methane and different greenhouse gases. Optical satellites can monitor excessive climate occasions by observing sea floor temperatures, wind velocity and sea ranges. Radar imagery and altimetry monitoring sea ice, polar ice caps, ice sheets and glaciers have instructed us that polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting six instances sooner now than in 1990s.

Since satellites had been first used for meteorology within the 1960s, the area sector has continued to innovate, surpassing its capabilities from one 12 months to the following. The enchancment of each optical and temporal resolutions of satellites has led to actual time monitoring and higher local weather forecasting and modelling talents. Beyond the area sector, satellite tv for pc knowledge can be utilized for analysis, similar to coaching knowledge for machine studying purposes, and improvement, enabling the discoveries of latest instruments to struggle local weather change. For instance, geospatial knowledge can be a basic useful resource for Destination Earth (DestinE), the European Commission undertaking to develop a really excessive precision digital mannequin of the Earth to observe and simulate pure and human exercise. Among area applied sciences, Earth commentary, also referred to as earth imaging, permits us to see each characteristic of the biosphere.

The Role of Earth Observation

Full Line up of Dove Satellites; Credits: Planet

All day day by day, constellations of satellites rotate across the Earth taking photos of the identical areas to permit for monitoring over-time. The European Commission launched its Earth commentary programme, in partnership with the European Space Agency, in 2014. The Copernicus Programme consists of earth commentary satellites and in situ sensors similar to floor stations, airborne sensors, and sea-borne sensors, supporting a spread of purposes from safety, city planning, transport to setting safety and local weather change. Within trade, Planet operates the world’s largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites, permitting it to line scan the planet to picture the whole Earth day by day. Earth commentary is a key device for the implementation of the European Green Deal because it sees every part from crop well being to reef degradation. Indeed, satellite tv for pc imagery will be leveraged throughout sectors and produce beneficial and distinctive data that continues to be unseen from one’s toes on the bottom.


Within the agricultural sector, earth imaging can be utilized to observe crop well being, detect in-field variation, and predict yield. For the European Green Deal’s flagship Farm to Fork technique geared toward constructing more healthy and extra sustainable EU meals methods, earth commentary can allow trade gamers to make sure efficient meals productions and policy-makers to observe compliance with trade requirements and observe crop progress.

Forestry and Carbon Stocks

Earth commentary helps to trace deforestation and unlawful logging in real-time. High spatial and temporal resolutions are key for the European Commission to fulfill its reforestation targets, down to every particular person tree. They will help observe land use and estimate carbon shares, permitting policy-makers to develop local weather coverage uniquely tailor-made to the local weather dangers.

Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Livestock; Credits: Planet

Daily photographs of the Earth facilitate the monitoring of biodiversity loss and harm to our ecosystems. As the EU embarks on its local weather mission, these photographs can present helpful perception to discover a stability between the pursuits and wishes of residents and well being of nature’s sources.

Soil Degradation and Marine Protection

As soil degradation and desertification proceed to progress in lots of elements of Europe, geospatial knowledge will help monitor adjustments and perceive the effectiveness of countermeasures. Beyond the land and onto the ocean, knowledge can observe plastic waste, spillage and pollution that threaten the reefs and livelihood of coastal species.

Sustainable Mobility

Real-time and exact city and rural improvement monitoring will help policy-makers with the planning of transportation networks and evaluation of public transportation entry for inhabitants, according to altering inhabitants progress charges and altering land consumptions charges.

Emergency and Disaster Response

With pure and man-made disasters persevering with to threaten whole populations, earth commentary knowledge will help detect these disasters, tailor governments’ response, and assess the influence on ecosystems and infrastructure.

While there aren’t any shortages of use circumstances of earth commentary knowledge, knowledge assortment,  with out evaluation, is meaningless. Geospatial knowledge can solely be leveraged if translated into significant and actionable insights. Machine studying retrieves the knowledge from the picture, making certain smarter decision-making. It helps policy-makers establish which infrastructure survived a flood and which populated space is most prone to meals insecurity. Understanding the biosphere improves modelling and predictive capacities, and permits policy-makers to evaluate the influence and effectivity of environmental coverage.

In a time the place data is essential, earth commentary knowledge drives higher decision-making. It can inform policy-makers and researchers which populations are probably the most susceptible, which species are probably the most threatened, which human actions trigger probably the most, and the least, environmental hurt. Not solely, knowledge can guarantee commitments are met in every particular person member state and maintain decision-makers accountable and on a degree enjoying subject.

Recommendations for Policy-Makers

The European Green Deal and the issues confronted by humanity and the planet demand rapid motion, knowledgeable by top quality knowledge. While the European Commission is already utilizing geospatial knowledge for local weather coverage as a part of the Copernicus programme, greater spatial, temporal and spectral decision are required to observe intimately and throughout many years to higher shield the planet. The European Commission can take extra steps to leverage the most recent improvements in Earth imaging, knowledge analytics and indexing. Private and public partnership are important if we’re to struggle local weather change and shield our ecosystems.

Encouraging Space Data-based Research

Research permits policy-makers and lecturers to higher perceive our ecosystems, establish probably the most urgent dangers to our planet, and different options to scale back our environmental influence. The European Commission ought to encourage and make obtainable geospatial knowledge for local weather analysis, not solely on the EU-level, however throughout member states and neighbouring nations. An important part of analysis is evaluating findings throughout time. Private geospatial knowledge firms have complete archives of their knowledge, for instance, Planet’s archives relationship again to 2009 are listed and analysed, permitting for fast queries. Facilitating entry to personal archives for researchers will guarantee findings are based mostly on probably the most correct knowledge.

Streamlining Data Procurement

Across EU establishments, researchers and decisions-makers wish to geospatial knowledge to form their coverage initiatives. However, current procurement strategies within the European Commission have led to double spending and ineffective use of knowledge. To obtain the European Green Deal, the European Commission ought to contemplate centralising area knowledge procurement, permitting for companies and departments to seek for satellite tv for pc imagery based mostly on particular person necessities Thanks to trendy indexing and analytics capabilities, trying to find knowledge will be so simple as on the lookout for a recipe.

Promoting Downstream Innovation

In addition to serving to policy-makers and researchers, hundreds of purposes and providers have been developed based mostly on Earth commentary knowledge. Indeed, Copernicus ensures greater than 10% of the revenue of European downstream firms that use its free and open Earth commentary knowledge. However, regardless of its capabilities, Copernicus knowledge is much less exact, frequent, and decrease decision than non-public sector choices. The European Commission ought to proceed to encourage using satellite tv for pc imagery for tomorrow’s inventors by facilitating entry to and distribution of personal knowledge archives.

Dr. Agnieszka Lukaszczyk; Picture courtesy of the writer

Dr. Agnieszka Lukaszczyk is a Senior Director for European Affairs at Planet. A Polish/American nationwide, has labored on the European Commission, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth Unit. She additionally labored on the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, Space Policy and Research Unit. Before she joined the Commission, Agnieszka was the Brussels Office Director for the Secure World Foundation. In addition, she is the previous Chairperson and the previous Executive Director of the Space Generation Advisory Council in Support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications. Agnieszka additionally labored on the European Space Policy Institute as a analysis fellow. Agnieszka serves because the Vice President – Europe for the World Space Week And Sits on the Board Of Directors for the Women in Aerospace-Europe. She obtained a PhD in Space Security on the Polish Univeristy of War Studies. She additionally holds a Master’s diploma from the Warsaw School of Economics in Management of Space in New Economies and a Master’s diploma from the American University School of International Service in International Politics plus a Bachelor diploma in Political Science from the University of Tennessee. She additionally studied on the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium; the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and the World Trade Institute in Berne, Switzerland. She gained skilled expertise on the Political Section of the Polish Embassy in Washington DC, American Electronics Association in Brussels, European Department of the Polish Senate in Warsaw and the Warsaw Business Journal.


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