Global Greenhouse Gas Watch Implementation Plan to be presented at Executive Council (EC-78)

02 May 2024

The Global Greenhouse Gas Watch (G3W) initiative is a key component of WMO Climate Action, with activities focusing on climate change mitigation. G3W addresses critical information gaps on greenhouse gases (GHGs) through an integrated operational framework that optimally combines Earth Observations with Earth System Models. It uses Data Assimilation and Artificial Intelligence techniques to reduce uncertainty in assessing the efficacy of Climate Action.  

The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), and in particular, the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS) research activities continue to support G3W. They improve Members’ ability to monitor greenhouse gas fluxes into and out of the atmosphere on a global scale. They also create information services at specific decision-relevant scales (e.g. Urban) and for specific sectors. This information is used to guide mitigation actions and monitor their impact.   

The transition of Research to Operation (R2O) activities for G3W, related to the infrastructure deployment for the Surface-based Observing system and the integration of the Space-based Observing system, were discussed in detail at INFCOM-3.  A dedicated Drafting Team, composed of Members' delegates and the WMO Secretariat, enhanced the clarity and efficacy of the implementation plan. Substantial efforts are foreseen during the implementation to reduce technological gaps and foster capacity development, ensuring global deployment of G3W infrastructure and its utility for all WMO Members. 

On 15 April 2024, Prof. Greg Carmichael and Dr. Vincent-Henri Peuch, Co-chairs of the Greenhouse Gas Study Group, presented the Executive Summary of the G3W Implementation Plan. A dedicated drafting team, chaired by Dr. Chan Pak-wai, further clarified the proposal. This team consisted of about 25 Member representatives. Dr Vincent-Henri Peuch mentioned “Substantial research efforts have been on-going and will remain essential for G3W, but transitioning to sustained operations is a necessity in the context of the climate crisis. There is good alignment with fast-track GHGs information efforts, such as in Europe, Japan, and the USA, with large investments in the space sector”.  

Infographic comparing us ghgms, eu copernicus, and japan npes environmental monitoring systems for 2023 with flowcharts and diagrams illustrating data collection and reporting processes.
Figure 1: Three examples of regional and global information systems as identified in 2023 during the G3W dedicated workshops and contributing to the G3W Information products.

The INFCOM-3 plenary carefully examined all text improvements that resulted from a full week of work. On 19 April 2024, the G3W executive summary document was approved, recommending the WMO Executive Council to request INFCOM and the Research Board to lead the implementation of the plan. This process should be coordinated with SERCOM and guided by a joint Advisory Group, which will regularly report progress to the Executive Council and the Policy Advisory Committee.  

Additionally, the plan further highlights actions aimed at strengthening capacity development and reducing technology gaps in GHG surface-based measurements.  

Illustration depicting various satellites orbiting earth, labeled with their names, related to carbon and methane observations from space.
Figure 2: The space-based measurements supporting the Global Greenhouse Gas Watch will strongly rely on the surface-based for anchoring and assimilation into Earth system models, as well as providing calibration and validation datasets.
Source: CEOS Database

The approved version of the G3W IP document will be presented to the WMO Executive Council (EC-78) in mid-June 2024. Prof. Greg Carmichael, who supported the WMO Secretariat during the week of INFCOM-3, stated, “G3W is the result of a large teamwork that spans over several years and has strong support of the GHG science community; this teamwork will be needed going forward as there is a lot of work ahead for the implementation”. 

INFCOM President, Mr. Michel Jean, presented the G3W flagship to the Policy Advisory Group from 23-25 April 2024. He stated, “The governance of the Global Greenhouse Gas Watch is an integral part of the successful ingredients needed to implement the ambitious G3W plan”. The Climate Policy Advisors (CPA), chaired by the Ambassador of Belize, Carlos Fuller, has agreed to further support G3W by: 

  • exploring and coordinating the G3W products and contributions to the second Global Stocktake GST-2 using Earth observation; and   
  • enhancing the exchange of G3W information with UNFCCC to facilitate and encourage investment into the G3W structure. 

Preparation is now well underway for the 78th session of the WMO Executive Council from 10-14 June 2024, building on the success of ⁠INFCOM-3.  

Further readings