Satellite Measurement of GHG Emissions: Prospects for Enhancing Transparency and Answerability under International Law

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Abstract

Recent technological advancements are facilitating the use of satellite remote-sensing techniques for the measurement of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions. This article evaluates the potential for these satellite-enabled measurements to contribute to transparency and answerability for state emissions, with a focus on international space law and policy, and the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We show that in the context of the international space governance framework, the dissemination of integrated emissions data sets has the potential to enhance public answerability for the mitigation performance of states. Under the Paris Agreement, there is scope for space-based measurement techniques to provide an independent data source to support verification activities for national emissions inventories, and for aggregated data to be utilized as part of the global stocktake under Article 14. There are, however, a number of impediments to translating these transparency gains into enhanced answerability for states' emissions reduction pledges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-326
Number of pages24
JournalTransnational Environmental Law
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Keywords

  • Accountability
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • International space law
  • Paris Agreement
  • Satellites
  • Transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law

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