Edinburgh business joins climate consortium

29/09/2023
Krupa Nanda Kumar (Space4Climate)

THREE new collaborations have been awarded funding to accelerate practical progress to increase use of satellite Earth Observation climate services in agriculture, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sustainable finance. 

With this backing from Space4Climate, each collaboration will work to break down key barriers that are holding back wider use of Earth Observation-based climate services, for the benefit of all. They bring together the space and non-space sectors to deliver solutions to tough market challenges in adoption of services and products designed to achieve Net Zero targets.

Space4Climate’s innovative form of funding – through building a collaborative activity for the benefit of the whole Earth Observation for climate community, the economy and wider society – has a focus on producing freely available resources.

The collaborators are organisations of all sizes and include private, academic and public organisations from all regions of the UK and a contributor from the Netherlands.

Space4Climate, working with the UK Space Agency, has awarded £75,000 each to:

‘Understanding markets and facilitating the use of EO (Earth Observation) technology to deliver Net Zero through partnership working’ – led by Environment Systems (Aberystwyth, Ceredigion) with Authors Café (Langtree Mill, Devon), GMV (Harwell, Oxfordshire), Ian Encke Consulting (Hambledon, Hampshire), Locatum (Reading, Berkshire), Remote Sensing Applications Consultants (Alresford, Hampshire), Pixalytics (Plymouth), FNK Designs (Nottingham), SmartTrade Africa (Chesham, Bucks), Agcurate BV (Eindhoven, Netherlands) and Dhatri IO, (London).

Jacqueline Parker, Principal Consultant, Environment Systems Ltd, outlined the approach being taken by the group: “Our consortium will use their collective EO-derived climate services as a case study to better understand the perspective on adoption of climate services by agricultural supply chain organisations. We are really looking forward to working with the agricultural sector to understand and find ways to unlock uptake of technology as a transformative enabler for net zero delivery.” 

‘Opportunities for Earth Observation technology to assist the regulatory framework in UK industrial methane gas monitoring, focusing on 4 industrial sectors: oil & gas, landfill, water and coal’ – led by Retina Space (Milton Keynes) with HR Wallingford (Wallingford, Oxfordshire), University of Reading, (Reading, Berkshire), National Physical Laboratory (Teddington, London), National Centre for Earth Observation (Leicester), CGG Services (Crawley, West Sussex), Satellite Applications Catapult (Harwell, Oxfordshire), University of Leicester (Leicester), Sparkgeo (Edinburgh), Agtelligence (London) and Dhatri IO (London).

Srinath Logasubramanian, Consultant, Retina Space, welcomed the opportunity to collaboratively focus on methane monitoring. He said: “Retina Space and its partners are excited about the potential of this initiative to transform the way industrial methane gas monitoring is conducted in the UK. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and interdisciplinary collaboration, the project aims to significantly enhance satellite EO data adoption supporting regulations across the targeted industrial sectors.”

‘Utilising EO technology to redefine climate risk management in the financial sector – space-based innovation on Taskforce Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) Compliance’ – led by GlobalTrust (Alresford, Hampshire) with Riskaware (Bristol), Control Risks (London), Open Cosmos (Harwell, Oxfordshire), GMV (Harwell, Oxfordshire), National Centre for Earth Observation (University of Reading, Berkshire) and Satellite Applications Catapult (Harwell, Oxfordshire) (non-funded collaborator).

Richard Hilton, CEO of GlobalTrust, set out the ambitions of this collaboration, saying: “The project aims to revolutionise the way the financial sector manages and reports on climate-related risks, utilising the power of Earth Observation data. As we face escalating climate change, moving from global warming to global boiling (UN 2023), it is increasingly important to understand and mitigate its economic impacts. However, the financial sector currently encounters significant challenges in accurately identifying, managing and reporting these risks. We think the EO sector has a great opportunity to provide solutions that are adopted on a large scale.” 

The three collaborations will achieve their aims over the next 12 months through a mixture of activities including workshops, actionable recommendations and freely accessible resources. Their ambitions reflect the UK Government’s commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2050, the wealth of UK Earth Observation expertise, including among regional SMEs, and the quality of climate products being developed in the UK based on climate data from space.

Krupa Nanda Kumar, Climate Services Development Manager of Space4Climate, said: “We designed  this funding keeping in mind the fast rate of innovation in the satellite Earth Observation climate sector yet the relatively slow uptake of the satellite-derived climate services that emerge. We strongly believe that more collaboration is needed between experts in our sector and decision-makers from other sectors. This will enable bridging of the gap between scientific data and decision processes. These new collaborations aim to do just that and we are looking forward to supporting them to achieve their goals. The resources they produce will be made open and available so all parts of the community and industries can benefit from this work.”

The Space4Climate market breakthrough call was published in July in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) that stated that 1.5°C of warming will be reached by 2040 in all scenarios. It added that without transformational, urgent and collaborative change, across the world, we will be subject to the most extreme heat, flooding and supply-chain climate impacts. Technological advancements of satellites and climate data from space have inspired greater use of climate services but there continue to be some high barriers to adoption across public and private sectors and this call was created to accelerate uptake of climate data and services for global climate and Net Zero action in support of the National Space Strategy.

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