Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measurement Service

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measurement Service

  • Overview

    Vision / description

    Climate change is the toughest challenge we have ever faced and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions drive this global threat. Current methods of GHG monitoring rely entirely on estimations of emissions which, by the time of reporting, can be 2-3 years out of date, limiting their use for monitoring mitigation policies. There are also often large uncertainties associated with the current estimation approach. As we do not control what we do not measure, and we do not currently measure GHG emissions, it is unsurprising that we are largely failing to reduce overall emissions. The knowledge the world has on GHG emissions is limited and incomplete.
    It is recognized that more should be done, as stated in 2006 IPCC guidelines (Volume 1, Chapter 6).
    Astrium has developed a service to enable this “ideal condition for verification” which will provide policy makers with the tools to tailor their climate change mitigation activities through measurement of GHG emissions. This information provided in near real-time at city, regional, national and global scales can be used to target mitigation activities in the right areas, improving effectiveness while potentially reducing costs through the reduction of ineffective policies.

    Project objectives

    Astrium’s service uses a combination of real measurements from space, air and on ground, incorporating current GHG inventories with weather data and atmospheric models to provide an unprecedented level of detailed information about emissions. The service will be the first to provide high resolution geographical and temporal information on GHG emissions in near real time.


    Developing, emerging and developed countries can take advantage from our project as it can be implemented anywhere in the world.
    Indeed, industrialized countries are required to compile a national inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) covered by the Kyoto protocol in order to assess their progress towards reducing emissions. The Astrium service will provide, for the first time, policy makers and other end-users with a complementary approach to improve the present emissions monitoring by delivering independent measurements and detailed view of GHG emission sources with reduced uncertainties at city, regional, national and global scales
    Better managing rapid urbanization, responding to the needs of a growing urban population and controlling smart urban mobility planning are some measures which will lead to better emission reduction results. Challenges that developing and emerging countries (e.g.: Brazil, India…) face. Due to their sizes they will not be able to follow the same development path of western economies. They need however the means to design, implement and then control their climate change policies.
    Finally, the Astrium service will help foster a strong green economy by monitoring and maximizing the effectiveness of mitigation policies. Using direct measurement to improve and quantify efficiency of mitigation effort will result in a growth in the environmental sector, increasing jobs and wealth while, importantly, improving sustainability.

    Current progress

    A first and significant achievement has been the pilot demonstration conducted in London during the 2012 Olympic games. The GHG measurement system was rolled out for a city scale proof-of-concept (4 sensors on the ground, 4 airborne measurement campaigns and data from the Japanese satellite GOSAT), showcased to 32 organizations from all over the world. Among all the attendees, we had the opportunity to showcase our capability to the World Resources Institute. Results were also demonstrated at the 2013 Paris Airshow, including to Brice Lalonde, the UN Assistant Secretary-General and coordinator of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
    The success of the London pilot has been followed by the award of a co-funded project by a European organization (Climate KIC) to implement a city scale measurement system over Paris and Rotterdam for 3 years, starting from 2013. Astrium is also in the process of setting up an Integrated Applications Programme project with the European Space Agency to further demonstrate the service in Poland. Signed letters of interest have been received from the City of Warsaw and the regional government of Mazovia. This project is expected to run from early 2014 until early 2017.For the coming years, Astrium intends to keep developing its project by looking for partnerships especially in developing countries (in Africa, Asia or South America…) where the high urbanization rate has a strong impact on their emissions level.

    Project URL

    Sustainable Development Goals

    7. Affordable and clean energy; 11. Sustainable cities and communities; 12. Responsible consumption and production; 13. Climate action; 14. Life below water; 15. Life on land

    Regions / countries / territories

    Europe: United Kingdom

    Issue areas

    Biodiversity; Climate Change; Energy; Principle 7; Principle 8; Principle 9

    Business sectors

    Industrial Goods & Services; Industrial Goods & Services - Support Services; Other


    Stakeholders consulted

    Academia; Other

    Preferred partner organisation(s)

    City; Company; Public Sector Organization; Small or Medium-sized Enterprise; UN Entity

    Type of support needed

    Funding; Marketing/Communications; Other; Project implementation

    Collective Action
    • This initiative has a potential for scalability.
    • This initiative is seeking additional partners.