Climate summit #1: Tracking CO2-emissions through data and ‘eyes from the sky’

Series on WUR at the Climate summit. Part 1: Martin Herold en Niki De Sy.
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Global leaders of some two hundred countries are gathered in Glasgow until 12 November for the climate summit COP26. This summit is seen as possibly the last opportunity to limit the earth’s warming. During the COP26, Resource publishes a series on WUR experts and relevant issues. In this issue, Martin Herold and Niki de Sy on transparent monitoring.

Many countries, including the Netherlands, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia, agreed at the Climate Summit in Glasgow to stop deforestation by 2030. But how do you check that agreement and ensure that the often illegal deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions do not continue? Transparent monitoring of land use should ensure that we get a good picture of this.

Martin Herold and Niki De Sy of the Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing chair group will present a seminar on transparent monitoring at the Climate Summit in Glasgow on Friday 5 November. Transparent monitoring stands for approaches to combine various data sets (including measurements and satellite images), tools and portals that map and track global land use over time. This approach can provide additional data on top of a country’s own monitoring systems, says De Sy.


Transparent monitoring can help countries, NGOs and indigenous peoples detect and resolve potential land conflicts or dataset discrepancies. It can also support governments in getting a better picture of CO2 emissions from land use and better assessing possible mitigation measures.

Herold and De Sy are currently developing this approach in an international project that is developing guidelines on how publicly accessible datasets and programs can be used for this purpose and how access to data can be improved. The researchers are currently testing the method in two countries: Ethiopia and Peru.

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