The Earth Information Day is one of the permanent and most important events at COP. Organised by UNFCCC, it provides a a venue for exchanging information on the state of the global climate system and developments in systematic observation and is generally attended by hundreds of negotiators. The need for systematic observations was clearly put forward by many of the speakers.
In Panel 1 titled Updates on the state of the climate and the global climate observing system Han Dolman, Chair of GCOS Steering Committee presented the role of observations and their value cycle. He highlighted the change in demands of climate data for adaptation, mitigation and understanding the energy and carbon cycle. Dolman introduced the 2022 GCOS Implementation Plan (IP) with the recommendations for observation requirements and presented the six themes of the IP. The outcome of the second GCOS Climate Observation Conference 2022 (17-19 October 2022 in Germany) and the key issues enhanced there, such as the need to engage with nations and a needed improvement o f regional and national climate change information, have been presented.
The GCOS side event was dedicated to highlight the priority activities that need to be undertaken in the next 5-10 years to improve the observing system and the major implementers which will be responsible for their implementation. In 50 minutes, several speakers within the GCOS network presented the GCOS Implementation Plan and the need for a sustained global climate system, summaries the outcome of the GCOS Climate Observation Conference and showed a focus on actions implemented by Satellite Agencies, by GOOS/agencies working in marine observations and by UNFCCC Parties. The panel allowed for questions and discussions.
A global goal for observations as it was called for in the 2022 GCOS Conference Statement was finally not established as Parties are not ready to commit to implementing threshold standards in their observing systems. Nevertheless, GCOS and its ambitions gained important visibility at the COP 27.
SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) Decision on the implementation of the Global Climate Observing System (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.20/Add.1) recognized the importance of GCOS for understanding the global climate system and its changes as well as the importance for adaptation and mitigation. The Decision welcomed the 2022 GCOS IP and the 2022 GCOS ECV requirements and Parties and relevant organizations were encouraged to work towards their implementation. The need to close the gaps in the observing system was emphasized as well as the need to enhance coordination of activities by the systematic observation community.