Improved European observation network supports effective climate policy

dinsdag 29 november 2011 13:38

To provide an independent assessment whether European climate policy is effective, it is essential to monitor concentrations and fluxes of non-CO2 greenhouse gases accurately. A crucial component in doing so is a precise and reliable measuring infrastructure. As of this week, the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) will be coordinating 34 institutes in a joint effort to monitor the emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases and to improve the observational infrastructure. This is done at more than twenty different locations across Europe, in the framework of the EU-funded InGOS project.

The ambition of the participating institutes is to optimise the emission estimates per country such that policy makers are able to compare these independent emission maps with the official accounting that is reported by the countries. This enables them to make more effective choices on further reductions of greenhouse gases emissions. To realise this goal, the participants in the InGOS project will increase the number and quality of measurements and also refine the computer models. The focus of this particular initiative is on methane, nitrous oxide and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases. Together, recent anthropogenic emissions of these gases account for half of the climatic effect of the most well-known greenhouse gas CO2. However, these emissions are uncertain and difficult to measure. The aim of the project partners is to reduce uncertainties and allow effective climate policies based on data with the highest possible reliability to be developed.

European coordination
The project is carried out by 34 institutes from 15 European countries. The participants focus on harmonising their measurements on towers, high mountain stations, ships and in airplanes across Europe, and by means of ‘remote sensing’ techniques. Advanced computer models will translate these measuring data into emission maps, independent of what these countries report individually. The observation-based emission maps offer a reliable picture of the location and the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere.

InGOS project
The InGOS project is a four-year EU-funded project with a total budget of over 10 million Euros. The kick-off meeting of the project took place last week. More information can be found on the website

About ECN
A transition to sustainable energy system is essential: this is the mission of the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). With and for the market, we develop knowledge and technology to enable the transition to a sustainable energy system. ECN is the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands and has a strong international position in the field of its priority area Air Quality & Climate Change. We are an important advisor for governmental bodies and industries. Other research areas on which we focus are Bio-energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Policy Studies and Sustainable Process and Heat Technology. You can find more information about us on

Contact persons at ECN
Alex Vermeulen
Environmental research, Air Quality and Climate Change
Telephone: +31 (0)6 12975349
Arjan Hensen
Environmental research, Air Quality and Climate Change
Telephone: +31 (0) 6 10909979

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