“The Environmental Sustainability of Space Sciences” with Jürgen Knödlseder (CNRS, Toulouse, France)

Human activities have become a dominant force of terrestrial transformations, inducing a clearly observable change of the climate, ubiquitous pollutions of air, soil and water, and an unprecedented decrease of the living. Faced with this situation, the assessment of the environmental footprint of human activities becomes a key instrument to inform sustainability action plans and roadmaps. In this webinar the speaker summarises the current knowledge on the environmental footprint of Space Sciences, explaining its origins and impacts. A particular focus will be placed on the carbon footprint of astronomical research, for which detailed estimates are becoming available. Forecasts for the evolution of the field will be discussed and confronted with the imperative to drastically reduce green house gas emissions over the coming decades. The speaker demonstrates that profound changes are required for making Space Sciences environmentally sustainable.

Jürgen Knödlseder graduated at the Technical University of Munich and the Max-Planck Institute for extraterrestrial physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany. He moved to the Institute of Astrophysics (IAP) in Paris and subsequently to the Institute for Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP) in Toulouse, France where he became in 2001 a staff scientist of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). Jürgen Knödlseder is working on instrumentation and observations in the field of gamma-ray astronomy, initially using the COMPTEL telescope aboard the CGRO satellite and the SPI telescope aboard the INTEGRAL satellite on the topics of nucleosynthesis and antimatter. More recently he focused on the topic of cosmic rays, working on observations of the Fermi satellite and on the development of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). He is member of the astrophysics advisory board of the French Space Agency CNES, and he was chairing for nine years the Consortium Board of CTA. Since 2022 Jürgen Knödlseder is head of the office for environmental footprint reduction of the CTA Observatory.

Webinar was recorded on December 8, 2022