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5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement

Today marks 5 years since the Paris Agreement was established, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.

The agreement aims to keep global temperature rise, this century, well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The UK Government’s recent announcement of a 10 Point Plan demonstrates the UK’s significant and continuing commitment to tackling greenhouse gas emissions. As the UK’s National Metrology Institute, NPL recognises the importance of ensuring decision-makers who rely on information derived from measurement can trust the science and the provenance of the resultant information.

The Paris Agreement, as well as the UK’s Clean Air Act and Climate Change Act, are the principle drivers behind the need for environmental monitoring. A thorough understanding of industrial processes and their environmental impact can lead to process efficiencies that are good for business, while also protecting the environment and, importantly, human health.

Our experts are helping to address several challenges relating to tackling climate change within our Energy and Environment sector, from helping to improve the quality of data collected through Earth Observation (EO) satellites, to improving confidence in environmental measurements. NPL’s environmental measurement scientists work with academia, industry, the government and its regulators to provide high quality, cost-effective emission and pollution monitoring and analysis in support of meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement.

Space-based sensors offer a unique opportunity to capture global data on climate over time. However, as we generate more and more data, we also need to ensure that the data collected is trusted and reliable. Having reliable data from EO systems is critical to achieving international targets, such as those set out in the Paris Agreement.

TRUTHS is a climate mission conceived at NPL that will enable in-flight calibration of EO satellites. The mission will help deliver improved confidence in EO data gathered from space and the forecasts driven by this data.

The space-based reference provided by TRUTHS not only enables SI-traceable calibrations, but also improves synergies between satellite missions, by reducing measurement uncertainties due to different calibration biases. These improvements are essential for strategies such as the EU Copernicus programme and the Paris Agreement to ensure that data from constellations of micro/nano-satellites can be integrated seamlessly into the emerging 'big data' analytical systems that will fuel the growth in services and information content.

With the UK Government’s aspiration to end the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030 and requiring all vehicles to have a significant zero emissions capability from 2030 and be 100% zero emission from 2035, it is vital we ensure the carbon-neutral alternatives are ready for wide scale roll-out.

At NPL, we work on the development and deployment of low carbon technologies that would help support the energy transition away from fossil fuels. This includes testing and validating of the performance of fuel cells, batteries and photovoltaics as well as reducing the measurement uncertainties for decarbonisation solutions such as carbon capture, usage and storage.

Each of these play an important part in ensuring the UK lowers its emissions and reaches net zero by 2050 in line with domestic targets, as well as ensuring the UK is contributing to the aims of the landmark Paris Agreement made at COP21 five years ago. In the countdown to the UK hosting COP26 in November 2021, NPL will continue to work with all parties to support climate action, provide scientific excellence and help lower emissions.

12 Dec 2020