Climate change is one the most challenging problems that humanity will have to cope with in the coming decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the observed rise of global temperatures are extremely likely due to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Profound understanding of the driving forces of climate change and evaluation of the mitigation activities requires long-term and high precision measurements of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks and their evolution. Yet there existed an ample amount of research and data on greenhouse gases, the scientists found that the data was often scattered, difficult to reach and to access. The quality and consistency of measurements was not guaranteed. Nor did the data turn into information that could easily be used by citizens and decision makers.
Harmonizing the measurements of greenhouse gases and increasing the access and usability of data required deeper collaboration and interaction. In 2008, the European scientists and their national support networks joined their efforts and initiated ICOS RI, Integrated Carbon Observation System Research Infrastructure. That year ICOS RI entered to the strategic ESFRI Roadmap (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures). ICOS RI brings together the European high quality national research and measurement stations and, through coordination and support, constitutes an European-wide research infrastructure that serves both the scientists and the society.
ICOS ERIC is part of the UN 'Climate Neutral Now' initiative since January 2019.