Outcomes of the Forum on Innovation in Remote Sensing Technologies for Accelerated Climate Action, leading to COP26

Blog / January 29, 2021

The virtual forum "Innovation in Remote Sensing Technologies for accelerated Climate Action" was held on 14 December 2020 as a joint initiative of the Office of the High-Level Global Climate Action Champion (UK), Climate TRACE, the World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

It aims to drive forward the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) and to contribute to the Race to Zero campaign, which aims to mobilize a wide range of real economic actors to commit to achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Approximately 100 invited participants from the public, private and non-profit sectors attended this novel forum. The keynote address was delivered by Hon. Al Gore, former US Vice President, Gilberto Camara (GEO Secretariat) and Barbara Ryan (WGIC).

Introductory presentations by Will Marshall (Planet), Zhu Liu (Tsinghua University), Manfredi Caltagirone (UN Environment), Gavin McCormick (WattTime/ Climate TRACE Partner) and Rebecca Moore (Google Earth Engine) opened the discussion in four parallel streams:

  • New Opportunities: Using remote sensing technologies and innovations to support climate action.
  • What Governments Need: What are the challenges and opportunities for governments from a technology perspective, including developing and developed countries.
  • New Models of Collaboration: Fostering greater collaboration between public and private sector actors.
  • Incentivizing Data Sharing: Supporting data governance models to promote data sharing for climate action. 

Based on the input discussed at the Forum, the co-hosts will convene a follow-up conversation to explore how private sector companies and/or space agencies creating new Earth observation (EO) tools and data could accelerate global progress on emissions measurement and climate action.

In terms of country support, the Forum and partners will work closely with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat to identify ways to support government reporting, including through mapping existing remote sensing technologies for GHG emissions monitoring in the public and private sectors, as well as support for Global Stocktake. In terms of non-state actors, the Forum noted that city-level solutions are needed to monitor and take action on climate change. Easily accessible data and easy to use systems are key to this. It was agreed to discuss these aspects further with the Global Covenant of Mayors, C40 and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and to raise awareness on funding for such initiatives.

The co-hosts plan to hold follow-up events in the run up to COP26 to reinforce the messages coming out of this Forum and present concrete results of this unique public-private partnership for EO. 
If you are interested in collaborating on any of the above topics, we invite you to join us. For contacts please refer to Sara Venturini, Climate Coordinator at the GEO Secretariat, at sventurini@geosec.org.



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