International negotiations are under way, to draft a global agreement governing action against climate change in the period after 2012, when key provisions of the Kyoto Protocol will expire. This agreement is due to be concluded at the UN Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Copenhagen on 7-18 December 2009. Reaching a deal that is global, comprehensive and ambitious is a top priority for the EU, which has long been in the vanguard of international action to combat climate change. The countries of the European Union are currently developing and applying solutions in various sectors, in order to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, and increase the use of renewable energy. To illustrate this event, the Audiovisual Service of the EC has produced a series of stockshots on green economy, and the third stockshots of this series entitled: "Green economy: products and transport", contains the following images of: - European Solar Test Installation (ESTI); - Vehicle Emission Laboratory (VELA); - Hydrogen Sensor Testing facility (SenTeF); - High Pressure Gas Tank Testing Facility (GasTeF); - Hydrogen cars being fueled at a tank station; - Hydrogen cars driving on the streets; - Manufacturing of electric cars; - Manufacturing of on-street recharging stations for electric cars; - Electric cars being charged; - MINT (Minimum CO2 Emission on Terminal Manoeuvring Area) demonstration flight; - Production of ecological paint; - Production of bituminous waterproofing membranes (to be used as isolators on roofs) from recycled membranes; - Recycling centre for metal pieces; - Recycling centre for plastic bottles; - and bags and accessories made from recycled fireman hoses.
Micro- and Nanotechnology are revolutionising medicine. ‘Almost invisible’ tools are being developed by European researchers to discover diseases earlier and to treat patients better. At the same time the miniaturisation of instruments to micro- and nano-dimensions promises to make our future lives safer and cleaner. In Barcelona, Spain, a leading European research group (Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica in Bellaterra) is developing a low-cost molecular detection tool: the “Biofinger". The tiny chips can detect a huge variety of substances, from cancer cells to chemical ingredients. The revolutionary idea is to use physical forces in nano-dimensions in order to search for molecules. A team of European researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technologies institute near Saarbruecken is using nanotechnology to improve diagnostic capabilities. In the “Adonis”-project, nano-sized gold particles are used to detect prostate cancer cells at an early stage.
As a major space power, the EU disposes of valuable, lifesaving space infrastructure, including an array of Earth observation satellites that form the space-based segment of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative. International co-operation in this area will help improve our vision of the world.
Space plays more of a role in our everyday lives than we might imagine. From watching our favourite football matches to weather forecasting, Europe’s space satellites play an indispensable role in the day-to-day functioning of our society. Add this to the importance of satellite information with regards to larger societal concerns such as fluctuations in climate change and strategic planning for humanitarian operations, and suddenly, the scope and significance of space systems and space-based technologies are brought into focus.