Towards policy-relevant global carbon cycle observation and analysis

The GEO-C initiative builds on the previous GEO Tasks on Carbon Observations, started around 10 years ago.

The legacy of this work is now taken into account by this new initiative, that involves most of the previous partners and new ones, committed to jointly work to implement the key elements of the GEO Carbon Strategy updated according to the recent developments. The Carbon Community has in the last years achieved significant progress in improving our scientific understanding of the global carbon cycle and GHG fluxes.

There have been many long lived or recent initiatives, ended or still ongoing, that already have given a fundamental contribution to the observation of the global carbon cycle improving its understanding. Most of them are/were linked to GEO in some way or have even directly worked to contribute to it.

The intention of this Initiative is neither to rewrite new strategies nor duplicate existing efforts, but instead to build on existing initiatives, networks and infrastructures, ensure their continuity and coherence, and integrated them with the missing pieces to obtain a comprehensive, globally coordinated, carbon observation and analysis system.


GEO carbon strategy cover

“GEO through its Members and Participating Organizations, has begun work to implement a global carbon observation and analysis system addressing the three components of the carbon cycle (atmosphere, land and ocean) to provide high quality information on carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) concentrations, and emission variations.”

CEOS strategy cover

“This report, the CEOS Strategy for Carbon Observations from Space, is a response from the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) to the GEO Carbon Strategy. It details the adequacy of past, present, and planned satellite measurements of carbon in the land, oceans and inland waters, and atmosphere domains to support GEO…”

EC report

“Improve the inter-operability with other carbon observation systems, contributing to the new GEO Strategy and the new GEO 10 years Implementation Plan (IP) for 2016-2025.”

Basis of societal needs


  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The Global Goals logo

  • Climate Change – Greenhouse Gas Monitoring

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  • Disaster Risk Reduction

UN conference on disaster reduction logo

Policy Relevance: Responding to the Paris Agreement

Article 4 and Article 13 – National Reporting

  • Reported five-yearly by parties, successive reductions in emissions
  • Using existing methods and guidance; not validation

Article 5 Mitigation

  • Knowledge of evolution of sinks and sources

Article 7 Adaptation

  • (7.6) Strengthening cooperation,
  • (7.7c) Research, systematic observation

Article 10 Technology Transfer & Article 11 Capacity Development

Article 14 Global stocktaking

  • in the light of equity and the best available science: 2023, 2028…

Article 15 Compliance