Information on the Copernicus CO2MVS and the COINS survey

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Copernicus, the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, is currently developing a system to monitor human-induced CO2 emissions, based on observations of CO2 in the atmosphere, with emphasis on dedicated new satellite missions. It will be a global system appropriate to follow emissions on regional/country scale, but also with the near future objective of observing the local scale. The system is the CO2 Monitoring and Verification Service, abbreviated to CO2MVS.

To achieve this monitoring, ground-based observations – such as CO2 concentration measurements – are also necessary. These types of measurements are required to calibrate and verify satellite observations, but also provide additional detailed (local) information on the emissions and uptake of CO2. Although there are already networks of measurement stations, more are needed, especially nearby and in cities where the emissions are concentrated.

Copernicus is currently mapping the existing and planned developments related to the urban monitoring of CO2. In particular, the needs and expectations of various stakeholders are surveyed, as they will provide guidance on how the final system should look like and what kind of products and services could be provided. This is the purpose of the accompanying questionnaire, which is part of the COINS project. This is a joint project between Copernicus and the European environmental Agency (EEA). The information presented in this document provides you with some background information on the context and the objectives of the survey. 

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In 2015, all countries of the world signed the Paris Agreement to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. They committed themselves to limit the global average temperature to well below 2 °C and preferably to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. In order to have regular sanity checks on the actual progress, the countries decided to adopt the so-called enhanced transparency framework and to perform a regular global stocktake every five years. The objective is to ensure the compliance with agreed climate trends and possibly adapt climate actions accordingly to what is necessary to reach the common goals.

The need for measurements

The global stocktake is a huge effort mostly relying on emission statistical inventories prepared at the national level. To enhance trust in this process, CO2 observations will increasingly be used to “check the numbers”. This is one of the objectives of the Copernicus CO2 Monitoring and Verification Support (MVS) capacity currently being developed.

As a key actor of the development of urban greenhouse gas monitoring, we would like to ask you to answer the attached questionnaire and express your views, needs and expectations towards a CO2 monitoring system on city-scale.

The CO2MVS in Copernicus

Copernicus will be home to the future European anthropogenic CO2 Monitoring and Verification Support (MVS) capacity. Copernicus offers a world of insight about our planet to citizens, public authorities, policymakers, scientists, entrepreneurs and businesses. All Copernicus data is openly available to everyone at no cost.

The role of Copernicus is to transform information from multiple sources into operational services that help keep watch over the Earth’s land, ocean and atmosphere, monitor climate trends, support the European emergency management and safeguard civil security. The future CO2MVS will rely on a combination of ground-based (so-called in situ) observations, emission inventories and satellite data. They will be assimilated in sophisticated computer models to produce estimates of the emissions and removals of greenhouse gases for a specific area.

Thanks to its in situ service, Copernicus will map the availability of ground-based observation data, identify data gaps or bottlenecks to access, and establish partnerships with data providers to improve access and use conditions. Extensive collaboration with, for example ICOS and national infrastructures, will allow to establish and/or expand observation in key areas. Transparency and standardisation will be crucial to ascertain the trust in the results of the final verification system.

Already existing capacity

Some countries and cities are currently test-driving emission verification systems. In Europe, the United Kingdom and Switzerland are already reporting the verified emission estimates in their annual updates for the Paris Agreement. Cities like Paris, Berlin, Munich and Zurich have also built extensive CO2 observing networks. The present survey aims at collecting additional information about similar initiatives in project or in development.

The survey as part of COINS

COINS is a joint project between Copernicus and the European Environmental Agency (EEA). One of its key objectives is to collect information from a variety of stakeholders on their needs and expectations towards the future CO2MVS. In a first step, the global community of researchers working on data integration, modelling and projection of climate trends provided their insights on the future developments from a scientific perspective.

The current step focuses on the key users of the services that the CO2 MVS will provide. By analysing their needs, it will be possible to design the system accordingly and to support the development of climate policies based on scientifically sound information. The CO2 MVS will also allow to monitor the effects of such policies in a timely manner, in order to adapt them or identify the most efficient ones. The expected results are more accurate emission inventories, identification of the respective contributions of different sectors (transport, energy production…) to the total greenhouse gas emissions.