Looking at a global plan to monitor emissions using Satellite technology: Institutions and cooperation mechanisms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Decades of wavering political commitment to climate action eroded public confidence that a solution could be found to addressing the increasing immediate effects of climate change as well as to limit future temperature increases. That is, until the momentum and global show of support for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (PA), which entered into force on 4th November 2016 and has been ratified by 160 parties. Central to the Paris Agreement is the need to build mutual trust and confidence and promote effective implementation of the Agreement. To that end, an "enhanced transparency framework" for action and support is established under Article 13(1). Satellite technologies have a role to play in the goal of transparency however, as highlighted by Davies,1 "the dominant conceptualization of climate change technologies has tended to be either high tech developments seeking large scale impacts such as renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, or national and international economic mechanisms aimed at increasing the efficiency of energy consumption behavior. New climate technologies however are foreseen developed under collaborative frameworks. In May 2016, the New Delhi Declaration came into effect, realizing the intent of more than 60 space agencies to come together to work on a global framework to establish an international, independent system for estimating and curbing anthropogenic GHG emissions. The trend is towards integrated information services whereby satellite information is integrated with other data including in-situ and socio-economical statistical data. This paper argues that there is a need for international cooperation to encourage adoption and diffusion of new technologies relevant to the Paris Agreement. To further this goal, this paper makes three recommendations. Firstly, while fundamental, the focus of climate technology development should extend beyond energy innovations, as data collection, modelling and data visualization innovations are key to transparency. Secondly, countries should begin to corroborate their national greenhouse gas inventories with independent information. This could require developing new techniques, utilizing new data sources, testing them on a pilot basis and reaching an international consensus on common standards to facilitate open exchange and objective comparison between data. Finally, Canada and the other 59 space agency signatories of the New Delhi Declaration in response to the Paris Agreement should go beyond simply signing the declaration and utilize the opportunity to cooperate on developing tools to contribute to monitoring progress on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Each NDC represents a nation's voluntary commitment to pursue actions, policies and regulations deemed necessary to achieve a self-determined goal to mitigate GHG emissions and adapt to a changing climate. The case of the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement mission provides some insightful lessons on inter-agency and international cooperation for environmental monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication68th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2017
Subtitle of host publicationUnlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781510855373
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: Sep 25 2017Sep 29 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


Other68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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