ICOS ERIC

2015-11-20

Reading it black on white is just wonderful:

“COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (EU) 2015/2097 of 26 October 2015 on setting up the Integrated Carbon Observation System European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ICOS ERIC)”

This means that 9 European countries have united to build a long-term research infrastructure on greenhouse gases and achieved a legal form for this. It also means that we have finalized a 10 years construction process that needed patience, diplomacy and the will to compromise. The result shows how strong and resilient the ICOS community is.

In addition, it comes right in time: the implementation of ICOS ERIC is a strong European signal towards COP 21 - We are strongly supporting science on greenhouse gases and we are ready to provide data and knowledge on the Grand Challenge to mitigate climate change. And we are ready to put this into a global context. While we are all hoping that COP 21 will result in a huge global action on climate change, one result can be clearly foreseen: the world will ask for a global observation system on greenhouse gases. Building ICOS as a long-term research infrastructure shows the strong European role in these efforts.

On a day like this it may be worth to take a breath and have a brief look at the principal task of ICOS ERIC as defined in our statutes:  “The principal task of ICOS ERIC shall be to establish a distributed Integrated Carbon Observation System Research Infrastructure (ICOS RI) and to coordinate the operations of ICOS RI, distribute information from ICOS RI to user communities and to establish integrated data and analysis from GHG observation systems.”   

This means that ICOS ERIC is only a small part of the whole infrastructure. Having it as legal structure is a huge step forward but the most important message of the day is focusing on ICOS RI as a whole with its national networks and central facilities: we all together will become operational quite soon and will provide extremely valuable knowledge and excellent science.

Today is a day to celebrate and to thank everybody who has contributed to this success. It was a long and laborious journey. And I want to congratulate the ICOS community. Ladies and Gentlemen, raise your glasses: to ICOS RI! May it live long and prosper!