Socioeconomical impact of ICOS

Environmental research infrastructures in general, and ICOS in particular, generate important knowledge on our ecological life support systems, which provide priceless services. This is especially evident in the field of greenhouse gas management; if we do not reach our safe climate change target level due to inadequate mitigation, climate change will lead to extremely large societal costs caused by adaptation efforts, losses and damages.

ICOS has several socioeconomical impacts embedded to its missions statements. Greenhouse gas observations are essential in supporting efforts towards the fulfilment of the Paris Agreement aimed at mitigating climate change and in contributing to timely information relevant to greenhouse gas policy and decision making. As the key European contributor to these observations, ICOS has important social and economical impact in Europe and beyond.

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Contributing to the global societal & development goals

ICOS data helps to give an account of the Earth system and its response to climate change and other environmental challenges. The data generate scientific knowledge, which advances the fulfilment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union’s Societal Challenges, especially the following ones concerning climate change:

UN sustainable development goals
UN Sustainable Development Goals 13 & 14


We are also an Observer Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to reach global consensus on actions to mitigate and to adapt to climate change as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Informing policy and decision makers

ICOS provides timely information relevant to greenhouse gas policy and decision making. The information supports climate change mitigation and fulfilment of the Paris Agreement. By actively taking part in activities dedicated to policy makers, ICOS advocates for decisions made based on the best available scientific knowledge.

ICOS is a key European contributor to the greenhouse gas observations of the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). ICOS is also an Observer Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to reach global consensus on actions to mitigate and to adapt to climate change as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

ICOS provides data to the European Union's Earth observation programme, Copernicus. The data in the Copernicus service will be used, for example, by national weather services or private companies to improve air-pollution predictions and also to develop other data products using ICOS data, such as maps of fossil fuel emissions.

Impact through project collaboration

ICOS contributes to several projects, which in turn, can have a large impact on science, society and economy.