The European Commission has approved a €3.786 billion (£3.24bn) fund to send six satellites into space to monitor the impacts of climate change and changes to land use and oceans across the globe.
Called Copernicus, the “earth observation” programme aims to help the EU monitor greenhouse gases, the atmosphere and reactive gases that influence the temperature or quality of air. It will also provide information to improve management of natural resources, including water, soil and forests in other continents.
The fund for the period between 2014 -2020 will be used to pay for the development, launch and operations of a series of satellites, called the ‘Sentinels’ and to establish six operational services for the satellite imagery.
Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice President, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: “Copernicus presents a huge opportunity for the European Union as it will provide information on our environment. It will monitor climate change and will improve security for our citizens. It will trigger investments made by companies delivering space infrastructure and will thus create growth and jobs. It will also encourage downstream industry, namely the people who develop innovative applications or services to ensure that citizens and enterprises benefit from such public investment.”
The Commission claims the programme could help save €30 billion (£25.68bn) and create at least 50,000 jobs between 2015-2030.
Earlier this week Energy Secretary Ed Davey called for the EU to commit itself to reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 in a bid to tackle climate change.