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EU Plans First Satellite Fleet to Monitor CO2 in Every Country

Three orbiters will give first complete view of earth’s surface, transforming the way carbon emissions are monitored and reported.

An earlier Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-5p, prepares for launch (Photo Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja) Click to Enlarge.

Europe is readying a new fleet of satellites that will monitor CO2 emissions at every point on earth, creating the first worldwide system to independently track polluters.

The fleet of three satellites is slated for launch in 2025, in time to inform the UN’s global stocktake of greenhouse gas emissions three years later, the European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed to Climate Home News.

The project is well advanced.  The ESA has begun consultations with industry on building the newly-designed Sentinel 7 spacecraft, which will cost an estimated €633 million.  Funding depends on the EU’s 2021-2027 budget, which needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and member states.

Guido Levini, the manager of the ESA’s Copernicus space segment program, said he had a “high level of confidence” the funding would be secured, as the project had received blanket support from EU governments.

Once in orbit, the satellites will create the first global observation system for the gas most responsible for warming the planet.  The project has deep implications for the Paris climate agreement and the global politics of pollution.

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