Copernicus earth observation will bring benefits to the environment, security and jobs, says Vittorio Prodi

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The industry committee in the European Parliament today voted in favour of the Copernicus Programme, which will establish an ‘Earth observation’ system providing useful information about the environment.

Copernicus services will not only monitor environmental data (such as greenhouse gases that warm our planet, reactive gases that influence the quality of the air we breathe, ozone layer and levels of solar UV radiation reaching the ground, and aerosols that affect temperature and air quality), it will help protect our citizens from harm, for example through the monitoring of forest fires and other natural and man-made disasters.

S&D MEP Vittorio Prodi, author of the report, said:

“Copernicus satellites were able to give detailed pictures and maps of the territories in the Philippines two hours after they were hit by the typhoon, thus facilitating rescue operations. The same happened following the earthquakes in Italy and the forest fires in Spain and Greece last year.

“The environmental monitoring of air, water and soil will help improve health, for instance. Other applications can aid significantly agriculture activities, through a more effective control of our agricultural and fish resources.

“The data will also enable us to organise city and regional planning in a more efficient way, in accordance to the natural resources."

Mr Prodi highlighted the medium and long-term benefits of this programme for smart growth and job creation in the EU:

“It will generate a financial benefit of some €30 billion and a minimum of around 50,000 new jobs over the period 2015-2030. Studies show that these benefits could multiply by a factor between 5 and 10 if adequate downstream enabling factors are in place.

“This means that we should now make sure that the EU creates a new down-stream market for applications. Once it is in place, it will be a good platform for the creation of specialized jobs in a new technology sector that is still competitive at global level.”