Toggle Menu
  1. Home/
  2. Tech & Science/

UK and French space agencies reach ground-breaking agreement to tackle climate change

A first in European missions on climate change is underway as UK and French space agencies have reached a ground-breaking new agreement.

The cooperation agreement focuses on the MicroCarb satellite mission which will measure sources and sinks of carbon, the principal greenhouse gas driving global warming. It is the first European mission intended to characterize greenhouse gas fluxes on Earth’s surface and gauge how much carbon is being absorbed by oceans and forests, the main sinks on the planet.

According to a press release by the Government of the UK, the mission, scheduled to launch in 2020, will also contribute to international efforts to measure how much carbon gas is being emitted by natural processes and human activities. MicroCarb will enable the UK Space Agency and CNES to pave the way for a longer term operational system in response to the Paris Agreement.


“UK collaboration with France on MicroCarb provides an excellent platform to demonstrate cutting-edge British science, our commitment to climate policy, and a productive relationship with a key European partner. The UK space sector is alive with talent and opportunity and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are ensuring the UK remains a vital contributor to international space research,” Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said.

With its £10 million investment, the UK will provide key components and services for the MicroCarb satellite, securing and growing vital capability in understanding climate change. The University of Leicester and University of Edinburgh will also represent the UK on the joint science team.

More than 38,000 people from all over the country are employed in the UK space sector, which is supporting over £250 billion of output across the wider economy.

John Beckett