Going green? Look to EU Space!

Published: 
03 June 2021
Individually and in synergy, the EU Space Programme components are making Europe greener.
Individually and in synergy, the EU Space Programme components are making Europe greener.

From the air we breathe to the water we drink and the land we grow our food on, our ecological footprint and means to minimise it are more in the focus than ever. Innovative technological solutions, including space-based applications, can help to prevent pollution and reduce its negative impacts: from agriculture to transport. To mark the European Green Week 2021, which runs from 31 May to 4 June, we look at some of the contributions that space is making to a greener future.

This year, the European Green Week is dedicated to the ‘zero pollution ambition’ and looks at relevant European Green Deal initiatives, such as the climate initiatives, the upcoming Chemicals Strategy and #FitFor55 as well as initiatives in the fields of energy, industry, mobility, agriculture, fisheries, health and biodiversity. In all of these areas, EU Space is making a positive contribution.

Synergies are key

While both Copernicus and EGNSS (Galileo and EGNOS) are making a major contribution to reducing pollution individually, it is by tapping into synergies between these components of the EU Space Programme that we can make the most significant impact on the green transition. 

Read this: Space synergies serving the environment

In agriculture, for example, farmers can combine information on crop health and soil moisture provided by Copernicus with positioning services from Galileo and EGNOS in precision agriculture applications to use water, fertilizers and other resources where they are needed most. It is estimated that until 2025, the combination of EGNSS and Earth Observation services can help save 1.5 million tonnes of fertiliser (up to 20% in savings for users) and 4,500 tonnes of pesticides (up to 25% in savings for users) in Europe. 

An example of where EO and EGNSS are delivering environmental benefits is the FaST digital service platform, promoting the generation and re-use of solutions for sustainable and competitive agriculture. Meanwhile, the EGNSS4CAP app digitises the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reporting procedures. For example, automatic monitoring procedures employ services from both, Copernicus and Galileo and thus reduce the number of On the Spot Checks (OTSC). 

Space and the Green Deal

The EU is tackling the environmental challenges that Europe faces with the implementation of the Green Deal, a guiding document that paves the way towards a sustainable European economy. The EU Green Deal sets concrete targets not only to protect the environment but also to build a greener economy that manages the Earth’s resources in a sustainable way. Space is a key element of this initiative, providing services that help Europe reduce and adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.

Watch this: EUSPA Space for our Planet Challenge 

Real-time and forecast information provided by Copernicus and precise positioning and navigation powered by Galileo and EGNOS, make it possible to predict and optimize traffic, enable efficient placement and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure, support smart electricity grids, improve urban planning, and support the sharing economy. In sectors like transportation, until 2025, the EU Space Programme will help to save 15 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions (equal to 3 Kg of CO₂ per year saved by every EU citizen) and 3.5 billion litres of fuel (equal to 4.5 years’ worth of total EU demand for refined petroleum) in Europe.

The EU Space Programme directly supports over 20 Green Deal actions and has already helped to drastically bring down CO2 emissions and greatly reduce the EU’s carbon footprint. By supporting solutions and applications in the sectors mentioned above, along with countless other services and applications, space will play an increasingly important role in helping the EU to achieve its sustainability goals, building a green and prosperous future for Europe.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the EUSPA website (http://www.euspa.europa.eu).

Updated: Jun 03, 2021