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Better Satellite World video “Footing the Climate Bill for the World” tackles deforestation

Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) today released Footing the Climate Bill for the World, its newest Better Satellite World video. It tells the story of the Norwegian government’s partnership with Planet, Airbus and KSAT to use satellite imagery to detect and help prevent illegal deforestation around the world. Footing the Climate Bill for the World is made possible by funding from Planet.

Stopping deforestation is hard. The poor people most affected by it have little power to change things. Much of it breaks national laws, but overstretched governments struggle to stop it. The government of Norway is the first in the world to fund programs that help tropical nations rein in deforestation. A grant to Brazil in 2008 helped preserve enough forest to keep 3 billion tons of carbon out of the air. A 2010 agreement with Indonesia offered incentive payments for reducing emissions – and that nation’s carbon output dropped by half in just a few years. In 2020, Norway took another step. It announced a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership with Planet, Airbus and KSAT. Together, they would provide access to detailed satellite imagery covering 64 countries – all for free.

Planet operates a vast fleet of small satellites called Doves. They take pictures of all the Earth’s landmass every day. Those pictures are detailed enough to reveal individual trees. Airbus is adding an archive of images captured by its Spot satellites since 2002. These allow today’s forests to be compared to those from years ago. The Norwegian company KSAT is pulling together all this data and providing technical support to users, who can view and download the files from Global Forest Watch or Planet.

“We are grateful to Planet for helping us tell this remarkable story,” said SSPI executive director Robert Bell. “At a time when the impact of climate change grows greater every year, this kind of public-private partnership offers hope for the future. The story is especially inspiring because, as we learned in producing the video, it was a quest for better data on the environment that prompted the founding of Planet.”