Today, at her State of the Union address before the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, proposed a new target of a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The current target is a 40% reduction. With such ambitious goals ahead for Europe, understanding how greenhouse gases end up in the atmosphere and the intricacies of the carbon cycle is essential – something that satellites observing Earth can help provide.
Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the economic issues that ensue, President von der Leyen linked the pandemic to our fragile world, “A virus a thousand times smaller than a grain of sand exposed how delicate life can be. It brought into sharper focus the planetary fragility that we see every day through melting glaciers, burning forests and now through global pandemics.”
She highlighted that although normal life effectively froze during lockdown, the planet has continued to suffer the consequences of climate change, and that the urgency to act is paramount.
Referring to the European Green Deal, the blueprint for transformation, President von der Leyen said, “At the heart of it, is our mission to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and we need to go faster and do things better. The European Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emission reduction to at least 55%.”