The 20,000 activists, diplomats, politicians, media, and businesspeople attending COP26 in Glasgow have the needs and focus of an expectant world on them. COP 26 is, after all, the forum to force climate change. When the summit ends, new goals will have been set.
Then the hard work starts. Many old ways will be swept aside in the march to reduce methane emissions, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and deliver carbon capture at scale. The world's capital markets are already shifting focus from the old ways and the global transformation is building true momentum.
Crucially, accountability and progress towards achieving climate goals needs to be monitored to keep us on track. Climate scientists have developed deep skills in doing this and have used every possible direct and indirect measurement to study the Earth's climate including the latest satellite observations.
However, monitoring societal change, regulatory initiatives and the huge range of capital projects creates new requirements. We need to count, assess, and measure incremental change, with precision, from the global scale down to a local level. We need to provide insights to validate those new regulatory regimes and that projects are delivering the reductions they promised, and we need to do this affordably and simply. The variety of things to be measured is also truly mind boggling. Examples include counting new solar farms, validating new low-carbon farming management practices, measuring thermal heat loss from individual homes, or assembling the data needed to underpin a unified carbon trading market. Regardless, to get the maximum bang for our buck, change will need to be measured, quantified, and monitored to provide the insight needed.
The good news is that the monitoring tools already exist, and they continue to improve. Satellite Earth Observation imagery has been used for decades but new generation satellite constellations offer richer data sets. Modern computer vision and AI techniques coupled with environmentally friendly cloud computing provide the processing power to do the number crunching. If all are combined, they provide the capability to create new insights on almost any significant change occurring on the surface of the planet daily if needed. Importantly though, these insights need to be cheaper and more accessible to us all. In response to that challenge, technology platforms are being built to simplify and automate how all the technology is stitched together, as evidenced by D-CAT's own Fusion Platform®.
So, whilst the scale of the coming transformational change is monumental, the tools to help monitor climate change progress at the global, national, regional, and local level already exist. The affordable insights they can create will help us all to be more informed on the coming journey.