Data from Earth observation satellites are preparing to play a leading role in COP28, the United Nations international climate conference, scheduled to take place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December. From greenhouse gases to the health of glaciers and oceans, space Europe is preparing to play a decisive role. This was stated today in Rome by Simonetta Cheli, head of the European Space Agency's Directorate for Earth Observation and director of ESA's centre in Italy, Esrin. She, the first woman to head ESA's Earth observation programmes, was presented with the Motomundi Prize, awarded since 2012 by the non-profit cultural association 'Cinzia Vitale', chaired by Roberto Vitale.
"Initiatives like this highlight the value of what science does," Cheli said as he received the award. In the coming days, the ESRIN director will attend COP26 with ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher to highlight the crucial contribution that data from European satellites can make to the health of the planet. "No single country would have been able to do what space Europe has achieved," said Carlo Corazza, the European Parliament's representative in Italy. "Space," he added, "must be our North Star" and is a "symbol of cooperation." Space also plays a leading role in Europe for Antonio Parenti, the European Commission's representative in Italy. Citing the ongoing digital twin of the Earth project at Esrin, he noted that "the work done at Esrin is done for Europe."
For the director of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, Nicola Casagli, European satellites have a crucial role to play in learning more about the planet. "A strong integration of satellite data with data collected by ground-based instruments and oceanographic data is needed to better understand climate change, for a more intelligent use of resources and in general to improve the quality of life," he said.
According to astrophysicist Anna Gregorio Michelazzi, of the University of Trieste, "space has always observed the environment" and "Europe has a leading role in this field".
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