Interview: Portugal’s space boss on disappointment with the EU Green Deal, and how satellites can help clean up the oceans

In 2019, Portugal became the latest EU nation to create a space agency. Bearing the slogan “clean oceans with clean space”, the private non-profit appears to have put environmental monitoring front and centre of its activities. The agency’s president, Chiara Manfletti, talks to ENDS about the space sector’s push to merge environmental and technological goals.

When it comes to making the case for space involvement in environmental policy, Manfletti has the figures to hand. “Out of 50 data variables that are used to monitor the climate, such as ocean levels, salinity and aerosols, 26 of them can only be monitored really well from space,” she explains. 

However, when Manfletti first read the European Commission’s green deal communication in December, she was surprised that space was not included. “I even flipped to the annexes at the end” she says, “I hoped to see it somewhere as a cross-cutting sector, like the digital economy”. 

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