Earth Observation as a powerful tool supporting the European Green Deal

Earth Observation (EO) data is crucial to our understanding of the planet and to how we address socio-environmental challenges, such as climate change and environmental degradation.

To address these challenges, the European Green Deal provides an action plan to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy, restore biodiversity and cut pollution, in order to transform the European Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, where:

  • There are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • Economic growth is decoupled from resource use
  • No person and no place is left behind

As a broad and integrated strategy, the European Green Deal encompasses various policy areas, ranging from biodiversity and climate protection, to industry and transport, to sustainable food chains and a cleaner construction sector.

EO data is key to monitor trends, observe changes and evaluate the health of the planet, in order to predict and mitigate negative effects of human activity on the environment. As such, it is a precious tool supporting policy making in all the Green Deal areas. According to the words of Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, “Earth Observation is a powerful tool to monitor the health of our planet. The climate and biodiversity crises have already started changing the face of the Earth. Close observation of environmental trends and new patterns will provide the data necessary to design evidence-based policies and deliver results that protect our planet, our health and our livelihoods“.

To maximise the use of knowledge generated from EO in EU policymaking, earlier this year, the European Commission has launched the Knowledge Centre on Earth Observation. The Centre helps EU policymakers to fully exploit the growing amount of EO data, products and applications, thus supporting the implementation of the Commission’s priorities, such as the Green Deal.

The role of EO to support the EU Green Deal is a key item in the agenda of European discussion fora. In the framework of the 14th Edition of European Development Days (June 2021), a high-level panel entitled “Earth observation: a game changer for the Green Deal” has been held, with experts from leading space and Earth Observation agencies and organisations discussing the potential of EO to address the Green Deal challenges and meet the Sustainable Goals Agenda for 2030. Did you miss it? Don’t worry, how EO can contribute to the Green Deal and to other major Programmes in the EU agenda will be also at the core of discussion at the ESA Earth Observation Phi-Week 2021, focusing on the New Space economy and associated innovations, to accelerate the future of EO.


Cover picture by Christian Lue on Unsplash