The EU will launch a “constellation of satellites” to monitor humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, helping to identify carbon sources.
Scientists working on the programme branded it “game-changing”, and said the tool will be able to detect emissions with “unprecedented accuracy and detail” in “close to real time”.
The satellites will be part of the bloc’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), and will help spot CO2 sources such as power plants and fossil fuel production factories, according to The Independent.
Richard Engelen, deputy director of CAMS, said: “Since the start of the industrial revolution, we have seen carbon dioxide levels increase faster than ever before, and there is an increasing urgency to take real steps to make very significant emission reductions.
“By providing globally consistent and high-quality data on anthropogenic emissions we can support policymakers with this enormous challenge.”
The programme will be fully implemented by 2026, with Copernicus already set to quantify the planet’s CO2 emissions for the first time by 2023.
EU countries leading the way in banning short flights
Meanwhile, EU countries have been moving to ban short-haul flights in a bid to tackle human-caused emissions, just as the UK is encouraging domestic flights by cutting taxes.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez proposed earlier this year to phase out plane journeys for routes which can be covered in less than two hours and a half by train. Other Spanish measures planned by 2050 include taxing frequent travellers and short-haul flights.
Banning short-haul flights is believed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in Europe, which is why Austria and France have already taken the measure to replace short domestic flights with trains.
France banned short-haul internal flights where the same journey could be made by train in under two and a half hours in April. And last year, Austria banned all flights under three hours by train and implemented a tax of 30 euros on all flights of less than 350km.
Australian Airlines also jumped in to help, by replacing its Vienna-Salzburg route with additional trains after receiving government funding to cut down CO2 emissions.
Dutch leaders have also shown signs over recent years that they intend to ban short domestic flights in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the Tories make it cheaper to fly within the UK
Meanwhile, the Tories have recently made it cheaper to fly between UK cities, slashing the Air Passenger Duty the week before COP26.
Flights between airports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be subject to a new, lower rate of Air Passenger Duty – a move which Chancellor Rishi Sunak said “will help with the cost of living, with nine million passengers seeing their duty cut by half”.
But the Climate Change Committee advisory board warned the government was failing to reduce demand for flying as part of its strategy to reach net zero.