ESA is hosting a side event on the evening of Wednesday 3 December at the conference entitled Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) from Space: Support to monitoring and reporting for Kyoto Protocol Annex I countries.
The Kyoto Protocol has only to be ratified by Russia in order to come into force. It charges all developed nations known as Annex I countries to monitor and work to reduce their overall carbon dioxide emissions.
A vital part of this is accurately measuring forested areas of their territory. Forests function as reservoirs of carbon, so if countries plant new forests they can gain 'carbon credits' to offset against their emissions. Conversely, extra carbon dioxide is released rapidly into the atmosphere if forests are burnt or cut down.
At the ESA COP 9 side event, ESA Director of Earth Observation Jos Achache will brief attendees on using space to gather environmental intelligence, and existing national users of ESA services will present their experiences.
ESA commenced working in the area of environmental conventions two years ago, within activity known as Treaty Enforcement Services using Earth Observation (TESEO). One of the projects initiated named TESEO Carbon studied the potential of Earth Observation for supporting implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
Three workshops, known as TUBES, gathered the convention secretariats and the users of the TESEO projects in order to guide and consolidate the work of the projects, which finished at the end of 2002 with a demonstration of some prototype products and recommendations to ESA.