Under the Paris Agreement progress of emission reduction efforts is tracked on the basis of regular updates to national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventories, referred to as bottom-up estimates. However, only top-down atmospheric measurements can provide observation-based evidence of emission trends. Today there is no internationally agreed, operational capacity to monitor anthropogenic GHG emission trends using atmospheric measurements to complement national bottom-up inventories.
The European Commission (EC), the European Space Agency, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites and international experts, are joining forces to develop such an operational capacity for monitoring anthropogenic CO2 emissions as a new CO2 service under EC's Copernicus Programme. Design studies have been used to translate identified needs into defined requirements and functionalities of this anthropogenic CO2 emissions Monitoring and Verification Support (CO2MVS) capacity. It adopts a holistic view and includes components such as atmospheric space-borne and in-situ measurements, bottom-up CO2 emission maps, improved modeling of the carbon cycle, an operational data-assimilation system integrating top-down and bottom-up information, and a policy-relevant decision support tool.
The CO2MVS capacity with operational capabilities by 2026, is expected to visualize regular updates of global CO2 emissions, likely at 0.05°x0.05°. This will complement the PA’s enhanced transparency framework, providing actionable information on anthropogenic CO2 emissions that are the main driver of climate change. This information will be available to all stakeholders, including governments and citizens, allowing them to reflect on trends and effectiveness of reduction measures. The new EC gave green light to pass the CO2MVS from exploratory to implementing phase.
Note: the authors are part of the CO2 Monitoring Task Force (MTF) and/or the Mission Advisory Group (MAG). They contributed to the three reports of the CO2 MTF or are leading major research projects in support of building up the CO2 Monitoring and Verification Support capacity.