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The participation of EURAMET’s European Metrology Network in a European Parliament climate event brings light to the importance of measurement science
Earlier in 2019, EURAMET’s European Metrology Network (EMN) for Climate and Ocean Observation took part in a Knowledge for Innovation (K4I Forum) Dinner Debate at the European Parliament in Brussels. The parliamentary event brought together policymakers, key stakeholders, and meteorological experts from all over Europe to discuss the future of collaborative research and to examine routes for addressing ever-impending climate challenges.
The changing climate is a primary area of concern for scientific researchers around the world. Uniquely, measurement science is critical for supporting all climate-based research, by providing the tools for accurately monitoring essential climate variables and understanding long-term climate trends. EURAMET launched the European Metrology Network (EMN) for Climate and Ocean Observation to provide a unified focal point for the integration of measurement science with climate and ocean observation research. Alongside EURAMET projects, the EMN is sharpening its focus on the involvement of stakeholders and the dissemination of key project results, with the aim of helping Europe to meet crucial environmental and climate targets.
The last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated an urgent need for environmental action over the upcoming decade. In response to this, the EU has been working to provide global leadership on climate action by developing initiatives to reduce emissions and to offer free, publicly-accessible environmental data. Advanced technologies, strategies for energy-intensive industries and accurate monitoring of the state of the planet are all recognised by the EU as necessary for mitigating climate change – all of which are underpinned by high quality measurement science.
The K4I debate provided a much-needed platform to encourage collaborative discussions about climate change and the influence of measurement science on our understanding of it, as well as allowing the EMN to engage with significant stakeholders like ESTEP – the European Steel Technology Platform. In fact, during the debate, ESTEP representatives evaluated the organisation’s role in driving the steel industry towards reduced carbon emissions. Speakers from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (Europe’s fundamental climate data system) and the World Meteorological Organisation (the UN’s specialised agency for weather and climate) additionally participated in the event and shared their ideas for mitigating anthropogenic climate change.
Emma Woolliams, the EMN Chair, had the opportunity to give the opening speech at the debate, where she emphasised the need for continued measurement science research to meet ambitious environmental targets – including the EU’s aim to become completely carbon neutral by 2050. This discussion led to the successful engagement of key climate players, fostering a deeper appreciation of the fundamental need for robust data to tackle climate challenges amongst those present at the event.
Providing a view of the impact of the K4I debate, Emma Woolliams comments:
“This debate provided a valuable opportunity to talk directly with decision makers, hearing about the value for them of reliable environmental data and telling them about the work that metrologists across Europe are doing to improve the reliability and accuracy of such measurements.
“I gave just three examples: improving the quality of measurements of ocean acidity (which increases as carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean and thus both indicates climate change and affects the whole marine ecosystem), the measurement of refrigerant gases in the atmosphere (which are controlled by international treaties and were identified by Project Drawdown as the top priority for mitigating climate change), and the calibration and validation of the Sentinel Satellites that underpin the Copernicus Environmental Information Services”.
Since discussions at the event on topics ranging from industrial plant control to climate monitoring improvements, Europe’s measurement science community has worked to strengthen its commitment to supporting climate observation and data accuracy. The cooperation and common effort of several scientific disciplines, policymakers and industrial organisations will ensure that the EU leads the way in mitigating climate change and bringing about sustainable growth across the globe.
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