39th CEOS Strategic Implementation Team Meeting

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hosted the 39th CEOS Strategic Implementation Team (SIT-39) meeting on 9-11 April 2024 in Tokyo, with cherry blossoms in full bloom. SIT-39 was the first meeting hosted by JAXA since becoming the SIT Chair, supported by NASA as the Vice SIT Chair, following the term of the European Space Agency (ESA) which ended in November 2023. JAXA has committed to two priorities for its term, detailed below, and this meeting was an important opportunity to hear from CEOS members and discuss the way forward, setting a course for the next two years.

Participants at CEOS SIT-39 Meeting (Tokyo April 2024)

JAXAโ€™s SIT Chair Priorities for 2024-25:

  1. Climate Policy Impact of Satellite Data โ€“ addressing obstacles and opportunities for CEOS agency data, particularly AFOLU/Biomass map datasets, to have maximum impact in the key climate policy processes such as the Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement.
  2. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Observations from Space โ€“ addressing coordination for data continuity challenges ahead and developing good practices so that operators of all kinds may contribute to societal needs.

Climate Policy Impact of Satellite Data

In support of the first UNFCCC Global Stocktake (GST1), CEOS provided pilot top-down methane and carbon dioxide emission estimates by sector and country (https://ceos.org/gst/ghg.html), published a dedicated edition of the Earth Observation Handbook (https://eohandbook.com/gst/), and collaborated with partners including WMO and the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) on a variety of activities. However, challenges persist, such as the limited use of CEOS-derived global products in forest reporting to UNFCCC (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/acba31) and perceived user confusion due to complementary and evolving products from numerous agencies. Pilot national GHG products developed for GST1 had minimal traction compared to IPCC inputs. To begin to understand the issues, the JAXA SIT Chair invited guest speakers from IPCC, UNFCCC Secretariat and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) to get their opinions and guidance for a renewed CEOS Global Stocktake strategy and actions. Charting a new course for CEOS engagement in these processes with a view to increasing the impact of CEOS Agency data will be a headline feature of the SIT Chair term, and JAXA will continue to coordinate the discussion around the strategy for climate policy impact, engaging all CEOS entities and experts, as well as external stakeholders.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Observations from Space

Regarding GHG observations, transparent, traceable, space-based GHG measurements are more critical than ever to support science and policy action. On national and regional scales, space-based GHG measurements can provide a transparent way to develop national inventories, assess collective progress towards national GHG emission reduction goals, and track changes in natural sources and sinks due to human activities and climate change. We invited speakers from WMO and the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) to explore new partnership opportunities. CEOS will update its Greenhouse Gas Roadmap to incorporate new interfaces and actions identified and the JAXA SIT Chair will also facilitate the coordination of the CEOS GHG, AFOLU, and Aquatic Carbon Roadmaps as three pillars of a complete strategy.

In addition to the discussions above, SIT-39 made some other important decisions, such as the establishment of a new Coastal Observations Applications Services and Tools (COAST-VC). COAST-VC will address the important land-ocean boundary and new product development needs not being addressed in other fora and providing a focal point for related work already happening across CEOS.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the CEOS members who participated in SIT-39. The meeting was a critical opportunity to set the stage for the next two years, with lively and fruitful discussions involving both CEOS agencies and external partners. I appreciate all of the valuable inputs we received and look forward to the activities that will follow.






Hironori Maejima